Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Letters of Hildegard of Bingen, Volume II

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Letters of Hildegard of Bingen, Volume II

Article excerpt

The Letters off Hildegard of Bingen,Volumne 11. Translated by Joseph L. Baird and Radd K. Ehrman. (New York: Oxford University Press. 1998. Pp. xv, 215. $45-00.)

The appearance of the second volume of translations of Hildegard's letters, almost four years after the first (see ante, LX-XII [July, 1996], 542-543), is an event to be welcomed. It makes accessible, in readable and accurate translations, another tranche of Hildegard's correspondence. This volume includes letters to and front members of religious orders whose location can be established, starting with correspondents from Ellwangen and finishing, at letter 217, with Trier. The arrangement follows the order of Van Acker's critical edition, though for some reason the letters translated here do not reflect the total number of letters in his Volume 11, which continues through to letter 250 from Zwiefalten. However, it does include Hildegard's very important correspondence with her last secretary, Guibert of Gembloux, in which she answers his questions about her visionary gift and method of writing. Also included is her correspondence with Abbot Ludwig of St. Eucharius, another helper of her latter years with whom she seems to have had a close relationship, and exchanges with her visionary protegee, the nun Elisabeth of Schonau.

Most of the letters come from men and women who are otherwise unidentified, though sometimes named (and sometimes not even named, though their location is specified, this being the criterion for inclusion). Here the editors might have provided more help for the reader. There is no consistent attempt to identify the senders or even the orders to which they belonged. …

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