About Me

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I am a medievalist and an adjunct college instructor in the humanities at Union College. My research includes medieval theologies of history, text/image relationships in visionary and mystical texts, and the writings of the twelfth-century Doctor of the Church, St. Hildegard of Bingen. I am also a translator of medieval Latin and German texts, especially as relate to my research. My translation of Hildegard's Book of Divine Works is available from Catholic University of America Press here. I completed a Master's in Medieval Studies at the University of Notre Dame in 2010, a Fulbright Fellowship in Germany in 2008, and a B.A. in Classics and German at Boston College in 2007.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Laus Trinitati (Symphonia 26)

An Antiphon for the Trinity by St. Hildegard of Bingen[1]

Scivias II.2: The Trinity.
Rupertsberg MS, fol. 47r.
Laus Trinitati
que sonus et vita
ac creatrix omnium
in vita ipsorum est,
et que laus angelice turbe
et mirus splendor
que hominibus ignota sunt, est, 
et que in omnibus vita est.

Praise to the Trinity—
the sound and life
and creativity of all
within their life;
the praise of the angelic host
and wondrous, brilliant
     splendor hidden,
unknown to human minds, and yet
its mystery is life within all things.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

O ignee Spiritus (Symphonia 27)

A Hymn to the Holy Spirit by St. Hildegard of Bingen[1]

Scivias II.4: Tower
of the Holy Spirit.

Rupertsberg MS,
fol. 60r.
1. O ignee Spiritus, laus tibi sit,
qui in timpanis et citharis

2. Mentes hominum de te flagrant     
et tabernacula animarum eorum
vires ipsarum continent.

3. Inde voluntas ascendit
et gustum anime tribuit,
et eius lucerna est desiderium.

4. Intellectus te in dulcissimo sono
ac edificia tibi
cum racionalitate parat,
que in aureis operibus sudat.

1. O fiery Spirit, praise to you,
who on the tympana and lyre

2. By you the human mind is set ablaze,
the tabernacle of its soul
contains its strength.

3. So mounts the will
and grants the soul to taste—
desire is its lamp.

4. In sweetest sound the intellect
     upon you calls,
a dwelling-place prepares for you,
with reason sweating in
the golden labor.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Karitas habundat (Symphonia 25)

(Caritas abundat)
An Antiphon for the Holy Spirit by St. Hildegard of Bingen[1]

Caritas (Divine Love)
Liber Divinorum Operum
I.1 (Lucca MS 1942)
habundat in omnia,
de imis excellentissima
super sidera
atque amantissima
in omnia,
quia summo regi osculum pacis      
abounds in all,
from the depths exalted and excelling
over every star,
and most beloved
of all,
for to the highest King she gave
the kiss of peace.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Spiritus sanctus vivificans vita (Symphonia 24)

For Pentecost, an Antiphon for the Holy Spirit by St. Hildegard of Bingen[1]

Scivias II.4:

Rupertsberg MS,
fol. 60r.
Spiritus sanctus vivificans vita
movens omnia,
et radix est in omni creatura
ac omnia de inmunditia
tergens crimina,
ac ungit vulnera,
et sic est fulgens ac laudabilis vita,     
suscitans et resuscitans
The Holy Spirit: living and life-giving,
all things moving,
the root of all created being:
of filth and muck it washes
     all things clean—
no guilty stains remaining,
its balm our wounds constraining—
and so its life with praise is shining,
rousing and reviving

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Imago expandit splendorem suum: Hildegard of Bingen’s Visio-Theological Designs in the Rupertsberg Scivias Manuscript

Imago expandit splendorem suum...
Scivias II.3: The Church and Baptism.
Rupertsberg MS, fol. 51r.

Update: The full article on which this presentation was based has now been published in Eikón / Imago 4 (2013:2), pp. 1-68, available electronically here.

A major point of contention within Hildegard studies is the question of her role in the production of the illuminated Scivias manuscript known as the Rupertsberg Codex.[1] Much current German scholarship has tended to preclude Hildegard’s hand by dating the manuscript’s production after her death in 1179, based on stylistic comparisons to firmly dateable contemporary manuscripts or on the many places where the images in the manuscript diverge from or even contradict the text of the visions. Pre-war German scholars, however, who had access to the original manuscript before it was lost, and most modern Anglophone scholars have argued more or less strongly for Hildegard’s influence on the design. Today, I argue for Hildegard’s direction of the images based on their function as a theological discourse refracting the text. I propose that the manuscript was produced in the late 1160’s or early 1170’s, at about the same time Hildegard was writing the Liber Divinorum Operum; and that she designed the images specifically to offer a visual record of the work’s theology.