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The Medical, the Magical, and the Miraculous in the Healing Arts of Hildegard of Bingen

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Chapter Summary

In her discussion about the contents of the Cause et cure in Sister of Wisdom, Barbara Newman asserts that for Hildegard "[t]here are no clear lines of demarcation between medical, magical, and miraculous ways of healing". This chapter introduces these three traditions and describes the two scientific - medical works alluded to them; it then examines how Hildegard of Bingen characterizes the medical, the magical, and the miraculous, and how she interweaves them in her theological and scientific writings. The Acta inquisitionis de virtutibus et miraculis sanctae Hildegardis, prepared in 1233 in support of Hildegard's canonization, refers to two medical works by her, the Liber simplicis medicinae (Book of Simple Medicine), and the Liber compositae medicinae (Book of Composite Medicine); however, no manuscripts with these titles are extant. Today the former work is identified with the Physica and the latter with the Cause et cure.

Keywords: Bingen; Cause et cure; Hildegard; miraculous healing; monastic medicine; Physica

10.1163/9789004260719_012
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