Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 2401
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Green , Jonathan P.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: A New Gloss on Hildegard of Bingen's "Lingua Ignota"
  • Source: Viator 36, ( 2005): Pages 217 - 234.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Authority Greek Language Hildegard of Bingen, Abbess of Rupertsberg- Lingua Ignota Imaginary Languages Learning and Scholarship Linguistics Prophecy Women Authors
  • Award Note:
  • Geographic Area: Germany
  • Century: 12
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations: Three figures. Figure One "Lingua ignota," items 1-17 (Wiesbaden, Hessische Landesbibliothek Hs 2, fol. 461v.). Figure Two Examples of the "litterae ignotae" (Wiesbaden, Hessische Landesbibliothek Hs 2, fol. 464v.). Figure Three KAPHD with interpretation (Berlin, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin- Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ms. lat. quart. 674, fol. 57v.).
  • Table:
  • Abstract: Among the most enigmatic works of the abbess and visionary Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179) is the Lingua ignota, a list of just over 1,000 nonce words with glosses in Latin and/or German. Earlier understanding of the Lingua ignota as glossolalia or as cryptography have proven unsustainable, and attempts to analyze the glossary via etymology have had limited success. Hildegard and her contemporaries regarded the Lingua ignota not as a clever or useful invention, but rather as no less supernatural than her visionary works. The glossary of an unknown language reinforced Hildegard’s prophetic authority, particularly on linguistic questions. This article suggests that the Lingua ignota represents not just a means to compensate for Hildegard’s position with respect to Latin as the language of institutionalized learning, but specifically a reaction to her confrontation with traces of Greek in macaronic poetry such as that found in the libraries of associated cloisters. [Reproduced from the journal website: http://brepols.metapress.com/content/121213/?p=afdbc79947a4444b9739ff05942fde63&pi=0]
  • Author's Affiliation: College of Charleston
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2005.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00835897