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Hildegard of Bingen and the Hirsau Reform in Germany 1080–1180

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Chapter Summary

Hildegard of Bingen rarely displays any debts to movements of religious renewal in Germany. At the beginning of Scivias, she describes how she experienced a moment of illumination in the 43rd year of her life, but gives no indication that the monastery where she had been raised as a child was itself the product of any movement in religious reform. At Disibodenberg, Hildegard was profoundly shaped by memories of the cause of religious renewal, in particular as inspired by the abbey of Hirsau, in Swabia. A treatise that embodies the commitment of the Hirsau reform to promoting the spiritual life of religious women who had withdrawn from the world is the Speculum virginum. While Hildegard shared Rupert's conviction that the Holy Spirit could be experienced as a living, interior fire, the way in which she employed the language of visionary discourse was very different.

Keywords: Bingen; Disibodenberg; German monasticism; Hildegard; Hirsau reform; Holy Spirit; Rupert; Scivias; Speculum virginum



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