Hildegard of Bingen's "Scivias"

Its only been recently that I have become interested in the life of Hildegard of Bingen. I have one book that gives excerpts from her writings written by Regine Pernoud called “Hildegard of Bingen”, it’s by the author of the books “Joan of Arc: By herself and her witnesses” and “Those terrible Middle Ages”.

But when it comes to Hildegard’s book “Scivias” all I get are books that are targetted at the New Age crowd. I found a copy of Scivias written by a Bruce Hozeski on Amazon that I thought would be faithful to the Latin but in having received the book was dismayed to find that it is an edited down version of Scivias and has on the back cover of the book an endorsement by a Gnostic.

Would anyone know of a good English translation of “Scivias” that is faithful to the original Latin and does not contain any new age nonsense?

Thank you and God bless :slight_smile:

I read this version:


Seemed pretty thorough - translated by a mother superior, I think! Likely to be fairly faithful…

Oh! How it frustrates my when the New Age crowd takes our good devotions and readings, and the works of our Saints and twist it to their own theology. I understand your frustration, and I second the the poster above’s recommendation. Looks great :thumbsup:

I’ve become interested in St. Hildegard of Bingen too after watching the movie

“Vision- from the life of Hildegard Von Bingen”


I tried looking for some of her written works (especially using herbs or natural resources for medicine. Not that I’m recommeding them since one should go to his/her own doctor it’s just that I’m interested is all) either I come up empty handed or like you TempleofTheSoul with something New Age.

St. Hildegard of Bingen, Pray for us all. Amen.

Despite having read what I suspect is a quality translation, wasn’t big on Hildegarde, must admit! And (apparently) damnation-riskingly skeptical of, compared to say, St. John of the cross. Think I’ll try St. Teresa of Avila next…

Maybe I was assuming she was being more literal than she was :shrug:

It doesn’t really matter which translation you get, this is a Saint who believes in the Cosmic Egg and the healing properties of gemstones – that’s why the New Agers love her. Frankly, I think it’s a crazy good thing, because its an open door between Catholicism and the New Age. I very much doubt that very many Catholics are falling off the spiritual twig because they were scandalized by Hildegaard, but having a woman saint who isn’t just dripping piety or cringing self-abasement is kind of refreshing, and certainly a great way of attracting the kind of women who are totally put off by Catherine of Sienna and Theresa of Lisieux. Hildegaard is wonderfully witchy without actually being a heretic or a sorceress, and that means that she’s able to speak to the New Age/Wiccan crowd in a language that they can understand.
btw - if you’re weirded out by the Scivias, try the Physica. It’s a riot. Lots of great cures that involve tying half-dead frogs to your body, and some timely advice on what you should do to protect yourself if a basilisk dies in your field.

I would hardly qualify Hildegard as ¨wonderfully witchy¨ and just because the New Ager´s have hijacked Hildegard´s writings and embraced them is not something I am impressed with.

I already have Physica and the cures found in the book are telling of the fact it was the Middle Ages not the modern age that we are talking about. Hildegard followed the teachings on the humors that was all the rage in her day. I have grandparents who believed in weird old wives cures but that doesn´t make them ¨witchy people¨.

God bless

lol…I mean it’s witchy in terms of its aesthetic appeal to people who ID as Wiccan. Probably that has different baggage for me, because I’ve had a lot of close Neo-Pagan friends, some of whom are now converts to Catholicism. In any case, I really don’t think that we need to cling to our Saints as though they were private property. The New Agers can love Hildegaard without in any way diminishing her or taking her away from Catholicism. I think that she’s probably happy to working outside of the fold, quietly bestowing her prayers and intercession on people who like her because they think that she’s a proto-Wiccan.

Yeah, but they probably haven’t read her! She’s about as hardcore hellfire and brimstone as it’s possible to be, from what I can remember… oddly soft on the rich, though… :hmmm:

Yeah, she gets misrepresented a lot. After reading the Scivias it will be apparent to you that she is not into paganism. Neither is she some sort of proto-feminist (she goes on a lot, practically to the point of redundancy, about the active and passive natures of men and women respectively).

Firstly, the Scivias is fantastic. She has nothing in common with what masquerades as feminism nowadays, nor is she “new agey” either. Saying that is like saying St. Francis was a hippie, which he most certainly was not.
Anyone who states that the Scivias is somehow a big mix of new age fluff and Catholicism obviously has not read the work at all. It is apocalyptic, prophetic, mystical, and incredibly deep, but new age and fluffy it most certainly is not.

It’s amazing how some people could even interpret it as being so! How ignorant can one be.

Its the hefty feminist and new age footnotes in some translations that lead people to make this connection.

God bless,

If you want a good copy of Scivias, get the one in the Classics of Western Spirituality series by Paulist Press, here:

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