|Hildegard of Bingen; Codex Latinus 1942|
Exegesis plays a central role in Hildegard’s works, and her exegetical homilies in particular establish her “as the only known systematic female exegete of the Middle Ages” (Kienzle 2009: 2). Fifty-eight of her homilies were collected in her Expositiones euangeliorum (Homilies on the Gospels; Hildegard 2011). These homilies were initially preached to her religious community in Rupertsberg (and possibly Disibodenberg), and they focus on twenty-seven gospel passages, including seven parables: one in Matthew (Laborers in the Vineyard) and six in Luke (Great Supper, Prodigal Son, Dishonest Steward, Rich Man and Lazarus, Pharisee and Publican, and Fig Tree). Hildegard works through the text systematically, verse-by-verse, phrase-by-phrase, and even word-by-word.
“And I,” namely Christ, “tell you,” human beings: “Make for yourselves friends,” namely, good angels and humans, in justice and truth, so that they may hold you in esteem for good deeds . . . . They whom you have led in this age from unfaithfulness to faith, and from sin to righteousness and thus into eternal habitations, will hasten to you with extreme mercy and welcome you into the heavenly and unfailing homeland which you lost because of Adam (33).
leave behind the burning lust of vices. In that way, when you lack vices, and you do not want to sin further, they will receive you, repentant and renewed in the good, into life’s pastures, where there is no lack of security or fullness of eternal joys (36).