Sacramentality in the Visions and Art of St. Hildegard of Bingen

By: Sarah Livick Moses  

In this paper, I will explore the artistic depictions of St. Hildegard of Bengin’s visions as they affectivity provide a redeeming cosmological and sacramental world-view. While certainly acting as signs to the higher realities presented in her visions, it is worth exploring the ways in which the art birthed from Hildegard’s mystical experience hold grace on its own account. Most importantly, the art pieces available provide new shades of perceiving reality which may better inform an appreciation for encountering the world as sacrament. While beauty baptizes the flesh of the world towards an aesthetic encounter with the incarnate Word, the ultimate end of both art and sacramental worship supersede an exclusive concern for an appreciation of “beauty.” Beauty, transformation, and grace are instead mediated through the world that is opened to the perceiver upon beholding the piece of art. The immediacy present in such an encounter is not just an aesthetic experience of something being depicted as it “should be.” The sacramental encounter mediated in art is instead one of being accosted. The depiction of divine eros and female bodies in Hildegard's visionary work capture this moment of capture, setting her up as a prophet both theologically and as a voice that reaches towards post-critical feminist theory.

Theological Aesthetics, Art, Anthropology, Post-Criticism, Feminism, Mysticism
The Politics of Religion
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Sarah Livick Moses

United States
MA, United States

Boston College STM, M.T.S. 2018 | Theological Anthropology | Embodiement | Phenomenology | Womanist | Orthodox Christian |