Hildegard von Bingen as Liturgist

The Henry Bradshaw Society Lecture 2024 will be delivered by Margot Fassler (Keough-Hesburgh Professor Emerita of Music History and Liturgy, University of Notre Dame) on Friday 26th April, 5.00pm BST, in the Winstanley Lecture Theatre at Trinity College, Cambridge.

All are welcome. Online attendance is also possible via Zoom.

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Hildegard von Bingen as Liturgist

Hildegard von Bingen is well known as a theologian, writer of letters, composer, poet, scientist, and probable designer of manuscript illuminations. But one of her most important roles was that of a liturgist, a person who was responsible for shaping the liturgical practices of a particular community and often providing liturgical materials for cantors and others to adapt for practice. This aspect of her work has not previously been studied in its many-faceted dimensions, which include the design of liturgical spaces, the creation of sermons, new hagiographical materials including saints’ lives and historiae, a repertory of chants for the mass and office, a liturgical play set to music, and a liturgical commentary. Indeed, she worked in several of the kinds of liturgical materials that are published in the Henry Bradshaw Society volumes.

In this lecture, Hildegard’s many liturgical endeavours will be shown to embody a particular hermeneutic of praise, one that is forcefully defined in her most famous letter, written to the prelates of Mainz near the end of her life. Her original approach to liturgy enabled her to create unique roles for the women it was her task to lead and inspire.

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Poster for Henry Bradshaw Society Lecture 2024