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Hildegard, the Schools, and their Critics

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Chapter Summary

The century in which Hildegard of Bingen lived was a time of great upheaval and cultural change. Prominent among these developments is the transformation of the education system, founded on monasteries and cathedral schools, into the independent academic institutions which would eventually become universities. By examining Hildegard's reading, her personal connection with schoolmasters, her imitation of scholastic genres, and her conception of human reason and its limits, this chapter further investigates the magistra's connections to the scholastic world and contextualizes her critique of the schools within a 12th-century discourse of monastic anti-scholasticism. Two letters by Hildegard provide most accurate picture of her attitude towards contemporary masters. The first (Letter 39R) is addressed in response to Master Odo of Soissons, and the second (Letter 40) is addressed to Master Odo of Paris. Examining William's concept of ratio with Hildegard's racionalitas casts her attitude towards contemporary theology in sharper relief.

Keywords: 12th-century school; Bingen; Hildegard; magistra; Master Odo of Paris; Master Odo of Soissons; monastic anti-scholasticism; racionalitas



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