Overview (Masterplots II: Christian Literature)
In “The World of Humanity,” part 1 of Book of Divine Works, Hildegard von Bingen affirms that her visions are from God, who has instructed her to write them for the benefit of others. This section includes four visions. Part 2, “The Kingdom of the Hereafter,” contains the fifth vision, and part 3, “The History of Salvation,” concludes with five visions.
In the first vision, Hildegard describes a complex image of a winged human being. Her descriptions are very clear, and the illustrations help explicate the descriptions. She records the accompanying voice, which identifies the figure as love, co-eternal with the Trinity. This vision emphasizes the importance of the Catholic faith and of love for God and for one’s neighbor. She briefly describes God’s unfolding plan of salvation for humans through Adam’s fall and Abraham’s obedience. Also, Hildegard contrasts Eve’s disobedience with the Virgin Mary’s obedience, which will result in the salvation of body and soul.
The second vision begins with a medieval focus on the cosmos and the four elements that make up all things: fire, air, water, and earth. Hildegard explains that God, in Creation, has caused these alien elements to cooperate with one another to make humans and all the other creatures. An important image here is that of balance; humans must aim for constancy by experiencing repentance, trust, and faith to accomplish God’s will. In addition, Hildegard...
(The entire section is 890 words.)
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