Hildegard of Bingen: Essential Writings and Chants of a Christian Mystic— Annotated & Explained

Enter the vibrant world of this medieval mystic and open yourself to the music of creation and the living light of God. This unique introduction to one of the most accomplished women in Christian history presents a wide range of Hildegard’s rich and varied writings, grouped by theme, with insightful annotations and historical background.

Translation & Annotation by Dr. Sheryl A. Kujawa-Holbrook

5½ x 8½, 240 pp | 978-1-59473-514-1

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Experience “the fiery life of Divine Wisdom” through the rich and varied writings of one of the most accomplished women in Christian history.

Hildegard of Bingen—visionary, abbess, composer, dramatist, poet and healer—was the brilliant and passionate precursor of many of the great women mystics of the Middle Ages. Her body of work is unusually expansive in terms of genre and subject matter for any theologian of her time, and includes powerful descriptions of her visions, advice to influential nobles and royalty, theological correspondence with fellow monastics, liturgical songs, and medical and scientific works.

Hildegard’s strong personality and vivid spiritual experiences still speak to readers within the church as well as those who are not formally religious but who have an interest in mysticism, the spiritual life, and feminist and eco-spiritualities, or who are drawn to Hildegard through the arts, particularly her music.

This unique introduction to Hildegard’s world and writings presents a wide range of her texts grouped by theme, providing a deeper understanding of this influential spiritual figure than can single-themed collections. Insightful and instructive annotations provide historical background and place selections within the wider context of Hildegard’s understanding of the spiritual life and the natural world.

“A lively, faithful and widely accessible translation for which those familiar with the visionary’s work will be grateful and which will invite new readers into an amazing body of luminous mystical wisdom.”

Elizabeth Drescher, PhD, author, Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of America’s Nones

“Well-chosen thematic selections.... [The] introduction and concise annotations provide just enough historical background for any reader who desires to hear Hildegard’s voice as a fresh and inspiring testimony to the Living Light.”

Arthur Holder, PhD, professor of Christian spirituality and dean, Graduate Theological Union

“Splendid.... Each page overflows with faith and beauty, hope and love, as well as illuminating insights.”

Mary Ford-Grabowsky, author, Spiritual Writings on Mary: Annotated & Explained; featured on the BBC CD Hildegard von Bingen in Portrait

“A rich overview of Hildegard’s wide-ranging work ... reveal[s] the depth and subtlety of her insight.”

Carl McColman, author, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism and Befriending Silence

“A treasure!... Enlightening introduction and annotations.... I highly recommend this book for use in church study groups, workshops, conferences, retreats, academic classes and personal exploration.”

Rev. Jann Aldredge-Clanton, PhD, author, She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World and Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians

“Thoughtful selections and thematic arrangement serve as an introduction to an astonishingly creative and courageous woman for her times and ours, and as resources for prayer, meditation and spiritual guidance.”

Francine Cardman, PhD, professor and historical theologian, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

“Comprehensive.... [A] balanced presentation both of Hildegard’s gifts and her weaknesses, revealing her as fully human yet filled up with God.”

Norvene Vest, author, What Is Your Practice? Lifelong Growth in the Spirit

“An insightful introduction; wisely chosen texts; clear, concise annotation.... Instructs readers how to handle the texts ... on the nun’s own terms.”

Mary Hunt, coeditor, New Feminist Christianity: Many Voices, Many Views

“Writing with clear love of Hildegard von Bingen and from her own perspective as theologian, religious leader and woman of faith, Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook ... provides a hybrid scholarly and practical resource for anyone seeking to know Hildegard von Bingen and her world.”

Suzanne R. Ehly, soprano and former member of Sequentia; artist in residence and faculty in voice, body, and culture, Episcopal Divinity School

“A must-have book for anyone wanting a deep personal experience of Hildegard of Bingen; her life, writings and music; and her faith in God.”

Rev. Dr. Carole Ann Camp, coauthor, Labyrinths from the Outside In: Walking to Spiritual Insight—A Beginner’s Guide; founder, Seekers and Sojourners

“The ‘best of’ Hildegard’s writings ... illuminated ... with wise and knowledgeable comments.... Anyone of any tradition will enjoy this beautiful book.”

Sister Greta Ronningen, cofounder, Community of Divine Love Monastery

“An excellent introduction to [Hildegard’s] thought.”

Rosemary Radford Ruether, author, Integrating Ecofeminism, Globalization and World Religions