HC434H/421H - Hildegard of Bingen (Spring/2024)

Professor: Lisa Wolverton

4.00 credits

  • CRN 36001: Monday & Wednesday, 8:30-9:50am @ CHA 301

This course examines the life and works of Hildegard of Bingen, the twelfth-century German nun and polymath.  Simultaneously an expert in medicine, a visionary teacher of Christian theology, and a composer of original music, she lived all of her life in a convent, serving as its leader.  A woman of incredible personal gifts, she also bore considerable responsibility for others.  Active in the world, not withdrawn from it, Hildegard was widely known in her lifetime.  We therefore study Hildegard’s interior life, intellectual and spiritual, in the context of those she influenced, taught, consoled, or chastised.

As a history course, the aim will be to study Hildegard’s life and works within the context of their time and place, one very different from our own.  But because her output was unquestionably—in modern parlance—interdisciplinary, we will endeavor to consider her theology, music, and scientific interests on their own terms.  Throughout the quarter we will delve deeply into her original writings:  her visionary treatises (especially Scivias), the words and music written for liturgical celebration among her nuns as well as a dramatic musical play (Ordo Virtutum), a vast corpus of letters, and her medicinal and scientific writings on plants, stones, etc. (Physica).

Graduation Requirement: This class will fulfill an Arts and Letters Colloquium and the Global Perspectives (GP) cultural literacy requirement.  If the student has already taken an Arts and Letters Colloquium, this class will fulfill both of the following requirements:  an Elective Colloquium and GP cultural literacy.