Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 October 2021
This chapter, translated from German by Florian Hild, examines the principal sources for Hildegard’s biography and discusses conflicting evidence and gaps in information that pose difficulties for the modern researcher. The author presents Hildegard’s life chronologically, including her family history, birth, and early years enclosed at Disibodenberg with Jutta of Sponheim; her visions, writings, and other early activities; her founding of the convent at Rupertsberg; her travels, preaching, healing, and miracles; and her final years and death. Additionally, the reception of her written works both toward the end of her life and after her death are considered, including the approval of her three books of visions – Scivias, Liber divinorum operum, and Liber vitae meritorum – by thirteenth-century academic theologians of Paris. Finally, this chapter describes the rise of her status as ‘popular saint’ juxtaposed with the challenges/setbacks in early canonization attempts, culminating with her elevation to sainthood and Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.
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