Secrets of God: Writings of Hildegard of Bingen is a representative selection of all the works written by Hildegard of Bingen. It includes not only extensive excerpts from her philosophical works but also portions of her writings in biography, physics, and medicine. To reflect Hildegard’s artistic accomplishments, the collection contains samples of her liturgical poetry and four of her mandala-like illustrations.
Hildegard wrote during the twelfth century at a time when the Church, while externally engaged in crusades against “infidels,” was badly in need of internal reform. It was a time of transition and turbulence when nation-states were forming, commerce was expanding, European cities were flourishing, and a new era of learning was beginning to challenge the influence of monastic culture. As a Benedictine nun, Hildegard herself was steeped in monastic culture, and its influence can be seen throughout her writing. Saint Benedict’s Rule of Life called for reading and reflecting on Scripture and listening and seeing all things with an open heart so that one could find God’s voice wherever it manifested itself. It was a life of constant discernment and conscious awareness. Hildegard received her prophetic call in 1141 and continued writing until she finished her last visionary work in 1174.