Land der Hildegard - Hildegard von Bingen

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Theological Points of View

Her Life › Visionary and theologian › Theological Points of View

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For Hildegard of Bingen, the people were the focus of all of her works: „Because the people are more important than every other creature that still depends on the structure of the world. The human is small in stature, but great in the power of soul.“ However, it is never isolated and is always a part of the cosmos with which people are interlinked. Humans have an enormous responsibility: With good deeds, people shall support God with creation. In doing that, people do not just serve their own salvation, but also the salvation of entire creation. The gift of reasonability enables people to differentiate between good and bad and to freely choose between them. The subject of Liber vitae meritorum and its Singspiel [music drama] Ordo virtutum is the fight of the vices against the virtues that all humans are exposed to – they are supposed to motivate to do good deeds and warn against vices and sins.

In contrast to the attitude of her teacher Jutta and many of her contemporaries, Hildegard’s theology is not inhibited. The body is not depreciated in comparison to the soul; body and soul comprise one unit. Different to what the ancient classic theology postulated, Hildegard did not regard the woman as inferior, but as equal, because man and woman can only function as one.

„And God made a form for the love of man, and this is the way it came about that woman is the love of man. (…) And so there will and must be one and the same love in man and woman, and no other.“

The connection of the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – with all parts of his creation is another key point in the message of the prophet. She sees the Trinity of God pictured in miniatures everywhere in the world. The love of God for his creation becomes evident in the incarnation of the Son. However, according to Hildegard’s point of view, the reason for this was not the Original Sin, but has always been the will of God: „When God (…) created the world, he decided in his eternal wisdom that he would become human.“ In this point, she again differed from the opinion of classic theology. With Christ, the Church and the sacraments came to the world, with the help of which the believers could benefit from the salvation effected by Christ. For Hildegard, the Church symbolizes the community of believers who recognize the incarnation of the Son of God. In her visions the Church appears as a woman giving birth who constantly creates new life through baptism. In addition to baptism, confirmation and Eucharist are very important: The first one strengthens the believers in order to do good deeds through the power of the Holy Spirit, while during Eucharist Christ’s work of salvation is prominent.

Hildegard’s theology fundamentally differs from the theology that is taught, because she can base her knowledge directly on the divine revelation that she experiences during her visions. For this, she does not need any specialist terms, but develops an impressive visual language that is enlightened by the accompanying interpretations. In her statements she is mostly traditional, and original in the meaning she conveys: Through her visual language the famous Bible motives gain new lustre.