This unit explores the life, thought and spirituality of the twelfth-century Benedictine nun, visionary, philosopher, composer and religious leader, Hildegard of Bingen (1098 – 1179). Drawing on her extensive writings, images and musical compositions, we will examine her formative years and how they shaped her outlook, her visions and her self-image as prophet, the major themes and concerns of her works, and her role as a spiritual leader. An important focus of this unit will be to explore critical issues associated with the interpretation of Hildegard’s life and her writings, which we will examine within the religious, political and social context of the twelfth century. We will also trace how Hildegard and her image have been interpreted historically and the continued relevance of her thought and spirituality in contemporary society.

Unit Code: DS9040P

Points: 24.0

Unit Level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit Discipline: Spirituality

Delivery Mode: Face to Face

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning Outcomes


Analyse critically the major influences that shaped Hildegard of Bingen’s outlook and spirituality


Engage with critical debates about interpreting the sources for Hildegard’s life and her writings


Analyse critically Hildegard’s writings in their social, religious and political contexts


Articulate and evaluate the major theological and ethical themes in Hildegard’s writing and their contemporary significance.


Formulate a sustained argument on an aspect of Hildegard’s life or thought


Lectures, seminars or workshops


Type Description Wordcount Weight (%)

Source analysis, 1000 words

1000 20.0

Topic Essay, 2500 words

2500 40.0

Research Exercise, 2500 words

2500 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 19 Oct, 2017

Unit Record last updated: 2019-05-14 14:18:53 +1000