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Intertextuality in Hildegard’s Works: Ezekiel and the Claim to Prophetic Authority

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Chapter Summary

Hildegard of Bingen's opera demonstrate a remarkable organic unity in thought and language, such that the analysis of intertextuality charting various words, concepts, images, and related themes across the magistra's works help in comprehending her entire allegorical universe. This chapter explores Hildegard's interpretation of Ezekiel in various works where she draws on the prophet's book to develop her imagery and theology. It first considers Hildegard's use of Ezekiel's words to enhance her claim to prophetic authority. Next it explores the magistra's exegesis of two key passages in the prophet's book: the four creatures, and the wheels within which the creatures appear. Patristic exegetes unraveled the significance of the four animals and the wheels, and the chapter examines which aspects of Hildegard's exegesis have precedent in patristic commentators. Finally, it investigates how these Hildegardian motifs relate to the images highlighted in 12th-century visual culture, notably in manuscript illuminations of the book of Ezekiel.

Keywords: 12th-century visual culture; Bingen; Ezekiel; Hildegard; intertextuality; magistra; opera; patristic exegesis; prophetic authority



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