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Manual Lady Amalia und andere Erzählungen über den letzten Ritter (German Edition)
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Back to home page. Listed in category:. Email to friends Share on Facebook - opens in a new window or tab Share on Twitter - opens in a new window or tab Share on Pinterest - opens in a new window or tab Add to Watchlist. A voice told her to write down what she had seen in her visions: she was reluctant at first to do so, but then fell into a debilitating illness, from which she only recovered when she resolved to follow her inner compulsion. Employing a scholarly monk to help her with Latin grammar, she began work on her first book Scivias Know the ways , and during a visit of Pope Eugene to Trier sent him some extracts from the manuscript, which obtained his blessing.
Armed with this authority, she completed Scivias, which she divided into three parts, the first containing visions of God the Father as creator of the universe, the second concentrating on Christ and His message of salvation, and the third — on the analogy of the Trinity — focusing on the power of the Holy Spirit to shape and transform our lives. After this Hildegard went from strength to strength. Her interest in plants and animals, coupled with her keen The Middle Ages powers of observation, also enabled her to produce two scientific manuals, the first, Physica Physics , being a handbook on nature, while the second and better-known Causae et Curae Causes and cures , a textbook on medicine, contributed to her reputation as a physician and healer.
Recognized in her own lifetime as a person of great spirituality and wisdom, she did not hesitate to comment on contemporary events or to rebuke kings and princes. Hozeski also quotes the opinion of the Dominican theologian Matthew Fox that, had she been a man, Hildegard would have been one of the most famous people in the history of humanity. Be that as it may, Scivias certainly has the authoritative tone of a new Revelation.
The visions are followed by detailed commentaries: the finale is apocalyptic in its prophecy. For all their force and power, however, Hildegard maintains that she received her messages not in a state of ecstasy, but from a deep source within her soul. In this she differed from other religious women who, particularly in the following century, experienced in dreams or trance-like states what they describe as a rapturous union with Divine Love.
Foremost among these ecstatic visionaries writing in Germany is Mechthild von Magdeburg, who was probably born sometime between and and who died at Helfta in Unlike Hildegard, she was not formally professed as a member of a religious order, but settled in Magdeburg as a beguine, and wrote not in Latin, but in the vernacular.
Mechthild, too, writes out of a profound conviction that God Himself had chosen her as a new apostle. Like Hildegard, she claims that she was commanded to write her book.
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It is not, however, an easy book to follow. It has, she says, to be read at least nine times, and always with due reverence and humility. Its central message is that it is natural for the soul to crave God, but God Himself also craves the human soul, and in the highest states of ecstasy a mystic union becomes possible.
Thus, as her title suggests, God is an ever-flowing radiance, an ever-buoyant flood-tide, the Divine illuminates the soul as sunlight shining upon gold or water, the Divine music is a music to which all hearts must dance. This is, even for its time, bold and unconventional language, and it offended a good many people. Different though these two remarkable women were, Hildegard and Mechthild do share certain features. Like Hrotsvit, both denigrate their authorship.
There may, however, be subtle irony at work here.
By conceding their weakness, both women acknowledge the structure of the patriarchal society in which they lived, while at the same time evoking scriptural sanction for their activities. It is precisely because, as women, they are of low degree and thus more humble and obedient that the Holy Spirit has deigned to reveal to them new ways of truth and love.
Versed as she was The Middle Ages in liturgy and Church tradition, Hildegard seems to have seen some of the topoi of theological debate not as abstract concepts, but as larger-than-life allegorical figures, many of them female. It is through the purity, humility and obedience of Mary that the Incarnation, and hence the Redemption, is possible.
Following on from this it is only through a feminine response to the Divine Nature that Creation itself comes into being. If Hildegard thus draws the attention of her contemporaries to the feminine principle inherent in the Divine mystery, Mechthild von Magdeburg personalizes it in the account of her own relationship with God.
Her God is no stern authoritarian, sitting in judgement. He is, rather, an ardent wooer of the human soul, delighted if the latter reciprocates his feelings. Yet not all human souls surrender to these endearments. Indeed, only the truly humble can be truly receptive, and these are much more likely to be women rather than men.
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Mechthild is often quite emphatic that it is difficult for men per se to find God. Both Hildegard and Mechthild speak out very strongly against the male-dominated Church establishment of their day, which they condemn as corrupt and anti-Christian. Yet her face was spattered with dust and her robe torn. Mechthild is no less extreme. Crown of Holy Church, how tarnished you have become! Your precious stones have fallen from you because you are weak and you disgrace the holy Christian faith. Your gold is sullied in the filth of unchastity, for you have become destitute and do not know true love.
Another vivid source of controversy is the explicit sexual language. It may well be that medieval times were not as prudish or as squeamish as our own. Hildegard, in her medical treatises, writes quite openly about menstruation and other gynaecological topics, although admittedly in Latin. Yet her vision of Ecclesia assaulted by Antichrist, again in Latin, verges on the pornographic. And after this ecstasy the soul sighs with all her might, so that the whole body is shaken. Elisabeth also wrote a life of St Ursula which contributed to the widespread veneration of that saint in the Cologne area.
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In the convent of Helfta, as already mentioned, Gertrud The Middle Ages von Helfta, Gertrud von Hackeborn, and Mechthild von Hackeborn all wrote treatises on the religious life, stressing in particular the virtues of obedience and humility and initiating the adoration of the Sacred Heart as a special form of Christian devotion.
All these works are in Latin. From all this it can be seen that women made a very substantial contribution to religious thought and practice during the medieval period and in doing so explored many forms of literary expression.