|Portrait of Hildegard of Bingen|
recording her visions in the
Liber Divinorum Operum (I.1).
Lucca MS 1942, fol. 1. (From Wikipedia)
St. Hildegard of Bingen prefaced each of her three visionary-theological works—the Scivias, the Liber Vitae Meritorum (“Book of the Rewards of Life” / “Book of Life’s Merits”), and the Liber Divinorum Operum (“Book of Divine Works”)—with a brief description of the chronological and visionary genesis of the work. Although a little longer than the opening of the Liber Vitae Meritorum—whose structure it nevertheless parallels—the Prologue to the Liber Divinorum Operum is only half the length of the Protestifactio that opens Scivias. Because that first declaration came at the beginning of Hildegard’s writing career, at a time when she was still quite unsure of herself, it went to great lengths to establish both Hildegard’s frail humility in the service of God and the legitimate, divine authority for her prophetic messages, as well as the dynamic of the visionary experience relating the two. The openings of the latter two works also take up those three themes that are central to Hildegard's visionary, prophetic, and theological vocation, but with greater concision.