2004 Student Research Conference:
17th Annual Student Research Conference

Social Science

Through a Feminine Lens: Hildegard of Bingen and the Use of Symbolism in the Eve-Mary Relationship
Leah N. Reschly
Dr. Jennifer G. Jesse, Faculty Mentor

During the year 1141, in the middle of her daily life as the abbess for a Benedictine order, a fiery light suddenly filled the whole of her being and astounded her with its warmth. Once the flame had left her breast, she concealed what she had seen until God and the Catholic Church compelled her to write. Her name was Hildegard of Bingen, a cloistered nun whose visionary experiences and resulting theology made her one of the most intriguing spiritual figures of the twelfth century. Central to Hildegard’s theology is an emphasis on the relationship between the fallen Eve and the sinless Mary. I will discuss Hildegard’s reinterpretation of Christian symbols and her inclusion of positive feminine imagery to argue that Hildegard communicates a need for gender equality in religious symbolism, calling men and women to actively translate her “feminine lens” perspective into egalitarian community practice.

Keywords: Hildegard of Bingen, feminism, symbolism, religion, theology, Catholic, Christian, Mary

Topic(s):Philosophy & Religion

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 49-2
Location: VH 1412
Time: 4:00

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