Sunday, May 10, 2009

03 Hildegard von Bingen

It is 2008. The person , who we want to talk about today was born in 1098. Millions of people were born in 1098, but we only know the names of a handfull and one of these names is Hildegard von Bingen. That she has our attention today is because she was a woman.

And we are not the only ones who are interested in the whereabouts of this woman. When you start a seach in Google you easily get a respons like : Results 61 - 70 of about 628.000 on Hildegard von Bingen (0,05 seconds). 628.000 hits and she lived 1010 years ago and on her name you get more hits then on mine (Results 1 - 10 of about 228 on Herman Bergson (0,11 seconds)!!!

She was the first female composer and in her days it was more than unique, escpecially while the gregorian chant was the music of the catholic church. Fortunately a lot of Hildegard's compositions have survived.

We have chosen to pay special attention to women philosophers because after 100 (minus 2) male philosophers it was about time to get things into balance. However, we have to keep in mind that the word feminism is an invention of our time, so it is rather anachronistic to apply it to the outstaning women before our time.

On the other hand we can agree on the fact that women and men could achieve equally the same intellectual skils and level since the beginning of mankind. However, that didnt make Hildegard von Bingen a feminist.

When we read in one of her works (Scivias Book II Vision Six.78) "God united man and woman, thus joining the strong to the weak, that each might sustain the other.", we just get the traditional gender picture.

My Associate professor Aristotle von Doobie already added some links to feminist analytical philosphy pages, which gave me a pretty uneasy feeling. I just refer to the quotes in my lecture on Hypatia. And this time again he succeeds in rubbing it in: also in theology we have this gender issue.

Just a quote: "Critical of the literary gesture of writers who hope to avoid sexist language by recourse to rhetorical disclaimers, feminist authors argue that it is not persuasive simply to declare that the concept of God transcends gender and,

therefore, “he” is not literally male, and then to presume that all can go on as before. The problem remains that once the masculine is raised to the universal human, beyond gender, the feminine alone bears the burden of sexual difference."

We must keep one thing in mind. We have studied 100 philosophers and each of them had a definite influence on the mainstream of philosophical development. They happened to be male and we all know the social and biological reasons for that.

When we speak of women philosophers who were outstanding and made history we must not fall into the trap of so?..Descartes was...which woman was his equal in the history of philosophy.

We must not forget that at all universities in Europe of those days for instance there were scholars lecturing and using Descartes ideas. And maybe one of their books survived history in some library.

Thinkers like Descartes floated in a pool of a thinking community; didnt he has his teachers? He just emerged because of his excellent ideas. And that is how we must evaluate the women philophers.

They are members of this pool of thinkers and are still among us because of their outstanding contributions to the philosophical discourse, while all those male professors of their time already have been forgotten.

And in that respect Hildegard von Bingen rises miles high above all those , tho qualified but yet forgotten professors, like all women philosophers do, who we will see onour journey.

One of her views on nature was that the macrocosmos and thence the microcosmos of the human body was permeated by a uniform force: the 'sancta viriditas' which means the 'sacred greenness'. This sacred green you find in plants but is also effective in the human body and soul.

This 'viriditas' encompasses all vital powers of all creatures and thence contributes to the heeling of body and soul. This is why Hildegard von Bingen is so well known because her knowledge of heeling herbs.

I will end this lecture on Hildegard von Bingen with her words, devoted to all us men. Let me quote from her work Scivias:

...And men who touch their own genital organ and emit their semen seriously imperil their souls, for they excite themselves to distraction; they appear to Me as impure animals devouring their own whelps, for they wickedly produce their semen only for abusive pollution...

The Discussion

[[13:26] Cailleach Shan: Hahahahahaha.... she doesn't say the same about women.
[13:26] Corona Anatine: she was a nun
[13:26] Khayyam Kurosawa: she was right there
[13:26] hope63 Shepherd: no semen cal:)
[13:26] Herman Bergson: Quod dixi dixi...^_^
[13:26] Corona Anatine: prob had not thoughts of such
[13:26] Khayyam Kurosawa: how can anyone even think of touching that
[13:26] Cailleach Shan: lol
[13:26] AristotleVon Doobie: LOL
[13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: and they say you will go blind
[13:27] Khayyam Kurosawa: ah that explains...i bumb into doors every day nowadays
[13:27] Mickorod Renard: have we started philo yet? I was late
[13:27] Herman Bergson: At least you risk an RSI
[13:27] Cailleach Shan: or spend your days with a smile on your face.
[13:27] Khayyam Kurosawa: (smiles)
[13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: hahaha
[13:27] Herman Bergson: But to get back to serious matters
[13:27] Khayyam Kurosawa: nothing more serious
[13:28] hope63 Shepherd: herman.. as you are no longer of control of the may I say somtthing: hildegard would -- if she had lived 400 years later and not writen any books ,, just had been a woman interested in healing through natural means. been burned as a witch by the church..
[13:28] Corona Anatine: the above is serious to many men - they spend their lifes that way
[13:28] Samuel Okelly: khay, i am lead to believe that sadly for many "thinking about it" is as far as it gets ;-)
[13:28] Herman Bergson: Of course you'll understand that Hildegard von Bingen was not a philosopher in the real sense of the word
[13:28] Khayyam Kurosawa: ;)
[13:28] Herman Bergson: She was a theologian mainly
[13:29] Corona Anatine: given her background that would make sense
[13:29] Herman Bergson: But what concerns us is the cultural phenomenon of women thinkers and how they achieved social recognition
[13:29] Herman Bergson: And in that sense is Hildegard an extraordinary example
[13:29] hope63 Shepherd: not just a theologian,.. she was interested in the suffering of people.. therefor she indulged in medicine.. natural medicine.. lomng before avicenna was known to the christian world..
[13:30] Anne Charles: Her main contribution to religion was to rail against simony
[13:30] Herman Bergson: Yes hope, she also was poet and composer
[13:30] Khayyam Kurosawa: which didnt work....
[13:30] Khayyam Kurosawa: was she?
[13:30] Herman Bergson: I didnt know that Anne
[13:30] Khayyam Kurosawa: what typoe of music?
[13:30] Khayyam Kurosawa: songs?
[13:30] hope63 Shepherd: one copuld say for that time she was a universal thinker..
[13:30] Herman Bergson: Click the URL I gave you and you'll hear a sample
[13:31] hope63 Shepherd: on the asis of religion..
[13:31] Herman Bergson: Religious songs indeed
[13:31] Khayyam Kurosawa: nice
[13:31] arabella Ella: what is simony herman?
[13:31] Herman Bergson: the married priest if I am not mistaken
[13:31] Samuel Okelly: maybe her religious standing would have definately been linked to social mobility at this time?
[13:31] Alarice Beaumont: for a woman a lot of people listened to her.. quite unusually in those times
[13:32] hope63 Shepherd: sam?
[13:32] Anne Charles: Simony is the taking of money by priests for religious services
[13:32] Anne Charles: Like getting one's mother out of purgatory
[13:32] Herman Bergson: Oh....indeed.....that made Luther furious too
[13:32] hope63 Shepherd: ablass...
[13:32] AristotleVon Doobie: oh my, she would be against modern day evangelisim
[13:32] Anne Charles: didn't it though
[13:32] Herman Bergson: yes...that's it
[13:33] Khayyam Kurosawa: that was the whole basis for the reformation
[13:33] Corona Anatine: any right minded person would be agianst modern evagelism
[13:33] AristotleVon Doobie: :))
[13:33] hope63 Shepherd: but simony wasn't a primary subject the days of hilde
[13:33] Cailleach Shan: Simony.... paying for holy office
[13:33] Khayyam Kurosawa: right-minded in terms of politcially ' right" corona
[13:34] Samuel Okelly: any right minded person would be agianst many things ;-)
[13:34] Corona Anatine: this is true
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: has anyone see this right midned person?
[13:34] Herman Bergson: I think that that isnt a proper way of argumentation
[13:34] hope63 Shepherd: sam.. then you have to be agains very many things today..
[13:34] Samuel Okelly: sure :)
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: I think one does not exist
[13:34] hope63 Shepherd: let5's try to think of the days hilde lived..
[13:34] Herman Bergson: I would prefer that you would abstain from such evalutive names like 'right minded'
[13:35] Samuel Okelly: "problem solving" is not a problem eh?
[13:35] Corona Anatine: we are getting away from topic
[13:35] Samuel Okelly: (consus building is a little more difficult eh
[13:35] Herman Bergson: I agree that you can have arguments against or pro some issue
[13:35] hope63 Shepherd: corona.. ty
[13:35] Herman Bergson: Yes corona, because of improper arguments
[13:35] hope63 Shepherd: we should talk about the person in her historical context..
[13:36] Mickorod Renard: yes pls
[13:36] oola Neruda: hope is right
[13:36] Herman Bergson: There is a lot of information about her life available
[13:36] Herman Bergson: as I said...more than 620.000 hits in google
[13:36] hope63 Shepherd: in a way she paved luther.. she opposed the arguments of the pope.. and the bishops around her,
[13:36] Corona Anatine: there was a long tradition of womens religious houses producing scholars
[13:36] Herman Bergson: All her books are still available in translation
[13:37] Corona Anatine: dating back to the mid saxon persion of uk
[13:37] Cailleach Shan: Well Hope.... it's difficult to put myself (mentally) into a time where my parents would offer me as a tithe to the Church when I would be 'enclosed' for the rest of my life.
[13:37] hope63 Shepherd: germans are so accurate when it comes 6to keep historical documents:)
[13:37] Alarice Beaumont: quite an awful thought Cail
[13:37] Alarice Beaumont: yes
[13:37] Herman Bergson: YEs Cailleach...hard to understand and feel close to
[13:37] Khayyam Kurosawa: lol hope..they better be ...
[13:37] arabella Ella: did you say where she was from Herman?
[13:37] Herman Bergson: Hildegard entered the convent even when she was 8 years old
[13:38] hope63 Shepherd: cal.. lets stay somsd time togehtedr
[13:38] Herman Bergson: Germany
[13:38] Cailleach Shan: :)
[13:38] hope63 Shepherd: toghether.. and it will be easy for you to understand:)
[13:38] Herman Bergson: An interesting medical point is that she had a lot of visions
[13:38] Mickorod Renard: wow
[13:38] Herman Bergson: in the literature it now is identified as a severe form of migrain
[13:39] Corona Anatine: well she did study herbs
[13:39] Herman Bergson: she had all known symptoms
[13:39] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:39] hope63 Shepherd: visions.. which in 1050'.. were still easily acceped..
[13:39] Khayyam Kurosawa: herbs dont no vision there
[13:39] Cailleach Shan: I think a vision eminating from migraine is still valid.
[13:39] Herman Bergson: Yes in those days migrain didnt exist in the sense we understand it
[13:40] Khayyam Kurosawa: a hallucination you mean?
[13:40] Mickorod Renard: how do u mean herman?
[13:40] Herman Bergson: That remark was made in the literature I read too Cailleach
[13:40] hope63 Shepherd: are you saying buddah-- jesus and mohammed had migraine?
[13:40] Khayyam Kurosawa: lol.......
[13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: oh goodness hope
[13:40] Herman Bergson: That the migrain does not by definition disqualify the content of the experience
[13:40] Khayyam Kurosawa: thats a new theory hope! i like that one
[13:40] Corona Anatine: mohammed certainly did - cos the hadith speak of his having ehadaches
[13:40] Corona Anatine: headaches
[13:40] Khayyam Kurosawa: it brings religions they all share a headache
[13:40] hope63 Shepherd: so do i -- lol
[13:41] Mickorod Renard: maybe they were herbal flashbacks?
[13:41] Herman Bergson: Or give you a headache, Khayyan?
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: was the herb, canibis?
[13:41] oola Neruda: can we get back to the subject please
[13:41] Corona Anatine: unlikley
[13:41] hope63 Shepherd: why not honor hilde.. and talk about her.. instead of us..
[13:41] Khayyam Kurosawa: that too yes
[13:41] Corona Anatine: but possible
[13:41] Samuel Okelly: secular eisegesis or objective exegisi?
[13:41] hope63 Shepherd: she deserves it to think about her..
[13:41] Herman Bergson: get back to Hildegard von Bingen
[13:42] Cailleach Shan: She wrote about female orgasm...... I wonder how she knew.
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: Hope, you seem to have studied her, tell us something
[13:42] Corona Anatine: how do you think she would have known
[13:42] Herman Bergson: I think that she lives on in her music these days and for a small group of people also in her writings
[13:42] hope63 Shepherd: ? cal? grin
[13:42] Herman Bergson: Yes Cailleach...the quote on the female orgasm you find on all pages..:-)
[13:43] Herman Bergson: guess who wrote them..:-)
[13:43] oola Neruda: i find it interesting that a woman was allowed to write to people like the pope in the first place... and then to have them actually read her letters...
[13:43] Mickorod Renard: you herman?
[13:43] herman Bergson smiles at Mick
[13:43] Corona Anatine: poss cos she was not seen as fully female - as in holy orders
[13:44] Herman Bergson: Yes oola and that all these texts were preserved through history....more than a thousand years
[13:44] Gemma Cleanslate: she also comments on lesbianism
[[13:44] Herman Bergson: I think we can conclude with the observation that she was an important historical person
[13:44] AristotleVon Doobie: so, she was against the marriage of priests or for it?
[13:45] Herman Bergson: who succeeded in reaching evenour time
[13:45] Corona Anatine: ya dont say - i would never have guessed
[13:45] Khayyam Kurosawa: indeed ....once you are discussed in virtual world hundreds of years can say you made it
[13:45] Alarice Beaumont: i think she was more progressive than the time allowed Ari
[13:45] Khayyam Kurosawa: if only she knew
[13:45] Herman Bergson: Historically yes, I would say Khayyan
[13:45] Cailleach Shan: Well the fact the she was canonised in those days was really significant.
[13:45] Khayyam Kurosawa: i hope she is looking and smiling at it
[13:46] oola Neruda: i had two nuns as students one year... grad school... and one of them did what she called commerative stamps... the subject she was commerating... was celibacy... the issue does not seem to have changed much
[13:46] Khayyam Kurosawa: and take on her own littla avatar.......
[13:46] Herman Bergson: Yes Cailleach a recognition in her own time
[13:46] Herman Bergson: Well
[13:46] hope63 Shepherd: one curious question: any of my learned colleagues in class make any refernece to bingen.. . and how it changed the history of europe?
[13:47] Alarice Beaumont: in the catolic church it hasn't really changed
[13:47] hope63 Shepherd: alarioce.. you should know..:)
[13:47] Herman Bergson: Our next women philosopher is will be Anna Marie van Verschuur
[13:47] Khayyam Kurosawa: a dutch one? never heard off
[13:47] arabella Ella: what do you mean Hope?
[13:47] Khayyam Kurosawa: not even a street named aafter her
[13:47] Alarice Beaumont: no.. sorry hope
[[13:47] Corona Anatine: is that all Hildegard is getting ?
[13:47] Herman Bergson: A Dutch lady indeed
[13:48] Khayyam Kurosawa: interesting.....
[13:48] arabella Ella: what changed the history of europe hope?
[13:48] Herman Bergson: We have to wait till the 17th century before we meet another outstanding women in the history of thinkers
[13:48] hope63 Shepherd: lol. just wanted to say that you will be playing on your home field
[13:48] Corona Anatine: we dont seem to have dicussed anything philosophical she said
[13:48] Khayyam Kurosawa: you mean.....of the ones that made it into history
[13:49] hope63 Shepherd: bluecher.. does this mean anythin to someone?
[13:49] Mickorod Renard: maybe thats the point
[13:49] Cailleach Shan: Can you give us an example Corona?
[13:49] Khayyam Kurosawa: who werent stamped upon and ignored by jealous men since they wanted to be dicussed in virtual worlds years later...
[13:49] Herman Bergson: Yes Khayyam
[13:49] Corona Anatine: except for the comment on men wsting semen
[13:49] hope63 Shepherd: ( war... not philosophy)
[13:49] Gemma Cleanslate: i think her music is the formost
[13:49] oola Neruda: i am having trouble figuring out her contribution... in ways it almost feels like she is remembered because records are still there... not for a real contribution that i can see... how she influenced other philosophers or created new ideas
[13:49] Gemma Cleanslate: coming back still today
[13:50] Corona Anatine: what was her contribuatiuon to the progress of philoliphy
[13:50] hope63 Shepherd: just a test of general knowledge amongst my fellow students..:))
[13:50] oola Neruda: herbs and orgasms
[13:50] Herman Bergson: tell you something..
[13:50] oola Neruda: ?
[13:50] arabella Ella: she seems to have been an assertive and powerful female in her days ... maybe family background?
[13:50] Herman Bergson: Last week I bought the book of Anne Marie was in a bookshop on the shelf
[13:50] Khayyam Kurosawa: a herbal *orgasm*?
[13:51] hope63 Shepherd: what century herman..
[13:51] Corona Anatine: i suppose that can be seen as philosophcal
[13:51] Herman Bergson: intellectual *orgasm*, Khayyam...on what herbs are you?
[13:51] Mickorod Renard: last week he said
[13:51] hope63 Shepherd: what century herman..
[13:51] Qwark Allen: ;-)
[13:51] Cailleach Shan: hahahahaha.... ever wondered why they call it 'dope'
[13:51] Herman Bergson: She was born in 1607
[13:51] Khayyam Kurosawa: tea
[13:51] hope63 Shepherd: and dutch?
[13:51] Corona Anatine: intellectual *orgasm* - is that when you have a brainwave or when your mind is fucked
[13:51] Herman Bergson: and Dutch indeed :-)
[13:52] Mickorod Renard: yes pls,,2 sugars
[13:52] Khayyam Kurosawa: lol corona
[13:52] AristotleVon Doobie: :)
[13:52] AristotleVon Doobie: roflol
[13:52] Herman Bergson: I think we are all done for today...^_^
[13:52] hope63 Shepherd: calvinist?
[13:52] Alarice Beaumont: :-)
[13:52] Cailleach Shan: lol.... I always knew the brain was the best *sexual* organ.
[13:52] Herman Bergson: I thank you for your participation..:-)
[13:52] Khayyam Kurosawa: who come that even all of adults start grinning when the world orgassm comes up....makes me remind my biology classes
[13:52] AristotleVon Doobie: yes Cail
[13:52] Corona Anatine: lol `sL has proven that
[13:53] Mickorod Renard: well I missed the point tonite,,I must read up on her
[13:53] oola Neruda: me too Mickorod
[13:53] Gemma Cleanslate: she is very interesting
[13:53] Corona Anatine: suggest you also read the contribution to scholarship by saxon nunneries
[13:53] Herman Bergson: Yes..definitely..I agree Gemma
[13:54] Alarice Beaumont: yes i thought her very interesting too
[13:54] Corona Anatine: there was a depp tradition which hildegard may have tapped
[13:54] Mickorod Renard: yes I must do Corona,,right up my street
[13:54] Herman Bergson: Like all these things...a person never stands alone in this....there must be shoulders she stands and stood on
[13:54] Khayyam Kurosawa: so is sophie hildebrand related to her herman?
[13:54] Corona Anatine: let me have a quick glance at my book of saxon history
[13:55] hope63 Shepherd: well.. i think we just went a way on which we never drosed the thiought sopf theat woman.. because everyone was walking on the road of hisdays..
[13:55] Herman Bergson: I dont know Khayyam
[13:55] Khayyam Kurosawa: lets ask her

Posted by herman_bergson on 2008-11-12 15:59:22

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