Advertisement

Introduction Hildegard’s Language As Vineyard and Edifice

  • Sarah L. Higley
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

In a golden reliquary at Rüdesheim on the Rhine lie the only remains of the famous German mystic Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179): her heart and, most significantly for this study, her tongue. The word Lingua is prominently displayed at the bottom of folio 461v of Wiesbaden’s Riesencodex as a lemma for her fifty-ninth invented word—Ranzgia, either “tongue” or “language”—in a curious text referred to as the Lingua Ignota.

Keywords

Golden Reliquary Mystical Vision Language Creation Language Invention Personal Language 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Hildegard of Bingen, The Letters of Hildegard of Bingen, trans. Joseph L. Baird and Radd K. Ehrinan, vol. 1 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), p. 16.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Michael Einbach, Die Schriflen Hildegards von Bingen: Studien zu ihrer Uher-lieferung und Rezeption im Mittelalter und in der Frühen Neuzeit (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2003), p. 36.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Acta Inquisitiones, in Patrologia Latina, 197.137.9A, ed. Jacques-Paul Migne (Ridgewood, New Jersey: Gregg Press, 1965; originally printed Paris: Petit-Montrouge, 1855). This series is hereafter referred to as “PL.”Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bertha Widiner, Heilsordnung und Zeitgeschehen in der Mystik Hildegards von Bingen (Basel und Stuttgart: Verlag von Helbing & Lichtenhahn, 1955), p. 17: “Aber weü weder die Vita noch der Brief ais durchaus zuverlassig gel-ten konnen, so vennogen solche vagen Fonnulierungen keinen Beweis fur die Echtheit einer Schrift zu liefem, die in ihrer Sinnlosigkeit Grund zuin Zweifeln bietet … ist der Sinn und Zweck eines solchen geheimnisvoUen Glossars und des darin enthaltenen unbekannten Alphabets (Wilhelm Grimm nennt es eine »eigenmáchtige, grandiose Erfindung«) kaum erkennbar.” AU translations are mine, unless otherwise indicated.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Umberto Eco, The Search for the Perfect Language, trans. James Fentriss (Oxford, UK and Cambridge, MA: BlackweU, 1997), p. 8.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Plato, Cratylus, in Cratylus, Parmenides, Greater Hippias, Lesser Hippias, ed. and trans. H. N. Fowler (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1926, 1992), pp. 24–25.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
  8. 9.
    Hildegard of Bingen, Hildegardis Bingensis Epistolarium, ed. Lleven van Acker, Letter 103r, Corpus Christianorum: continuatio mediaevalis, vol. 91A (Tumhout, Belgium: Brepols, 1993), p. 260.Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    Augustine, De Magistro, Corpus christianorum series latina, vol. 19/11.2, ed. K.-D. Daur (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 1970). For an English translation, see Against the Academicians, The Teacher, trans. Peter King (Indianapolis and Cambridge, MS: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. 1995), pp. 94–146.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    Alessandro Bausani, Le Lingue Inventate: Linguaggi artificiale, linguaggi segreti, linguaggi universali (Rome: Ubaldini Editore, 1974); German edition: Geheim-unâ Universalsprachen: Entwicklung unã Typologie, trans. Gustav Glaesser (Stuttgart, Berlin: Verlag W. Kohlhammer, 1970).Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    Marina YagueUo, Les Fous du langage: des langues imaginaires et de leurs inventeurs (Paris: Editions du SeuU, 1984).Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    Jeffrey Schnapp, “Virgin Words: Hildegard of Bingen’s Lingua Ignota and the Development of Imaginary Languages Ancient to Modern.” Exemplaria 3.2 (1991): 267–298.Google Scholar
  13. 14.
    I am preceded by medievalist and Lolkien scholar Lhomas Shippey who also notes the dismissal Lolkien has suffered by academics. See J.R.R. Tolkien: Author ofi the Century (Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2001), pp. viii–ix. Neither Schnapp nor Yaguello even mention Lolkien.Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    Jed Rasula and Steve McCaffery, Imagining Language: An Anthology (Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Lechnology Press, 1998).Google Scholar
  15. 16.
    Lhe quarterly journal Vinyar Tengwar, edited by Carl F. Hostetter, is a good source for information about linguistic and philological examination of Lolkien’s languages. David Salo has created some controversy among these circles in his recently published book A Gateway to Sindarin: A Grammar ofi an Elvish Language firom J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (Salt Lake City: Lhe University of Utah Press, 2004).Google Scholar
  16. 17.
    John R[onald] R[euel] Lolkien, “A Secret Vice,” The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays, ed. Christopher Lolkien (Boston: Houghton Mifflm & Co., 1984), pp. 198–223.Google Scholar
  17. 19.
    Barbara J. Newman, Sister ofi Wisdom: Saint Hildegard’s Theology ofi the Feminine (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1987), p. xviii.Google Scholar
  18. 20.
    Karma Lochrie, Covert Operations: The Medieval Uses ofi Secrecy (Philadelphia: Lhe University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999).Google Scholar
  19. 21.
    GiUes Deleuze, The Logic ofi Sense, ed. Constantin V. Boundas, trans. Mark Lester (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990), p. 85.Google Scholar
  20. 22.
    Daniel Heller-Roazen, Echolalias: On the Forgetting ofiLanguage (New York: Zone Books, 2005). In psychiatric parlance, “echolalia” is the involuntary repetition of words heard spoken. Heller-Roazen uses it here to mean a language that has vanished, and of which we have only an “echo,” such as the infantile babble we forget when we acquire the restricted phonology of our native languages, and by extension the onomatopoeic tendencies in children learning to speak. Louis Wolfson and his attempts at forgetting, or abjecting, English is an excellent subject for his study (see note 23).Google Scholar
  21. 23.
    Louis Wolfson, Le Schizo et les langues: ou La Phonétique chez le psychotique (Paris: Gallimard, 1970).Google Scholar
  22. 25.
    Antonin Artaud, hettres de Rodez (Paris: G.L.M., 1946); qtd. by Deleuze, Logic of Sense, p. 84.Google Scholar
  23. 26.
    Tolkien, “A Secret Vice,” p. 206. This connection of inventing language with the scholarly study of language is an important one, seldom acknowledged by critics.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Sarah L. Higley 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah L. Higley

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations