Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen was born in Berkersheim in 1098 as the tenth child of the nobles Hildebert and Mechthild. At that time, at the age of eight she was already admitted to the convent and was eventually given religious education together with the six year old Jutta of Sponheim. Both entered into the Disibodenberg monastery, which Hildegard of Bingen took over as Superior after Jutta’s death.

Hildegard already had visions during childhood, which she wrote as an adult in numerous books. Her main work “Liber Scivias Domini” (Knowing the Way of the Lord) contains numerous theological texts in which Hildegard depicts the worldview and the image of man together with the image of God. The “Liber Vitae Meritorum” (Book of Livelihoods) describes vices and virtues of humans. Hildegard’s third work “Liber Divinorum Operum” presents her view of the order of creation.

Pope Eugen III finally granted Hildegard permission in 1147 to publish her visions. In the same year she founded the Rupertsberg monastery and took over the Eibingen monastery in 1165. She was the first nun to publicly preach the conversion to God. Her correspondence with spiritual and secular rulers was also written down and published.

Meaning of Hildegard for medicine

Around 1150 Hildegard of Bingen published her first medical works. “Causa et Curae” (cause and effect) describes the cause and treatment of many diseases. Through her second work Liber subtilitatum diversarum naturam creaturarum (Book on the inner nature of various creatures and plants) in which she represents nature and the healing power of various substances, she is still today regarded as the first German doctor in history. Many other works including the “Physica” consolidated Hildegard’s reputation as a seer, mystic and recognized scientist.

In 1179 she died in the Rupertsberg monastery at the then biblical age of 81 years. A few years later Hildegard of Bingen was canonized.

Maria Adam and Dr. Hertzka
Maria Adam and Dr. Hertzka

The pioneer of “Hildegard medicine” is Dr. Gottfried Hertzka the doctor from Konstanz . After years of research, he made the healing methods of Hildegard of Bingen accessible to the general public.