Hildegard of Bingen’s Unknown Language

An Edition, Translation, and Discussion

  • Authors
  • Sarah L. Higley

Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. The Lingua Ignota and Its Place Within a History of Language Invention

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Sarah L. Higley
      Pages 13-33
    3. Sarah L. Higley
      Pages 35-50
    4. Sarah L. Higley
      Pages 51-62
  3. Manuscripts, Edition, and Translation of the Lingua Ignota

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 143-143
    2. Sarah L. Higley
      Pages 145-160
    3. Sarah L. Higley
      Pages 205-230
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 231-246

About this book


The Lingua Ignota, "brought forth" by the twelfth-century German nun Hildegard of Bingen, provides 1012 neologisms for praise of Church and new expression of the things of her world. Noting her visionary metaphors, her music, and various medieval linguistic philosophies, Higley examines how the "Unknown Language" makes arid signifiers green again. This text, however, is too often seen in too narrow a context: glossolalia, angelic language, secret code. Higley provides an edition and English translation of its glosses in the Riesencodex (with assistance from the Berlin MS) , but also places it within a history of imaginary language making from medieval times to the most contemporary projects in efforts to uncover this woman s bold involvement in an intellectual and creative endeavor that spans centuries.


Berlin edition English gender manuscript Medieval Literature Middle Ages philosophy play translation

Bibliographic information