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By Charles Singer, Oxford. 

The general subject of the representation of the 
Synagogue in mediaeval art has been well reviewed by 
Hildenfinger,^ and by Cahier and Martin.^ In the following 
pages we propose only to discuss certain miniatures and 
the accompanying text of a particular manuscript which has 
not been previously explored from this standpoint. We 
may begin our review by placing the reader in possession 
of a few facts concerning the authoress of the work. 

Hildegard was born at Bockelheim in 1099, and died 
at Rupertsberg, opposite Bingen, in 11 80. At the age of 
eight she was placed in the hands of Jutta, a female recluse 
who had taken up her dwelling on the Mount of St. Disibode, 
a few miles from Bingen and on the banks of the Nahe. 
Jutta gradually collected around her a number of other 
pious women, and thus formed a nunnery under the Bene- 
dictine rule. On the death of Jutta in 11 36, Hildegard 
took the office of prioress, but in 1147 she and some of 
her nuns migrated down the Nahe to Rupertsberg, where 
a second convent was established. 

Hildegard was a woman of extraordinarily strong and 

^ P. Hildenfinger, ' La Figure de la Synagogue dans Part du moyen age, * 
Revue des Etudes Juives^ XLVU, 187. 

2 C. Cahier and A. Martin in Melanges d^ Archeologte, d'^Histoire et de 
Litterature . . . sur . . , moyen age, vol. II, Paris, 1 851, pp. 50-9, and also 
Monographie de la CathSdrale de Bourges, Paris, 1841-44. 

VOL. V. 267 T 


original character. The freedom and the terms with which 
she denounced the great ones of the earth, even the 
Emperor Frederick Barbarossa himself, as well as the 
character of some of her visions, and much of the setting 
of her life, recall the Hebrew prophets. Typical is her last 
public act. Having allowed burial in her own convent 
cemetery to a youth whose stormy life had ended in 
what she regarded as reconciliation with the Church, 
Hildegard defied Pope and Bishops, and incurred for many 
months the ban of the Church rather than allow the 
desecration of the grave, or admit either the youth's death 
in sin or her own error. 

Hildegard is distinguished in the field of science by 
common sense, and a respect for what in modern parlance 
we should term ' hygiene '. Her Physica comprises a collec- 
tion of the scanty scientific knowledge of the twelfth century, 
and is of special medical interest as containing a description 
of the nature and uses of herbs. The Liber Simplicis 
Hominis contains scattered throughout its chapters valuable 
glimpses of physiological conceptions prevalent in Germany 
at the period. Another work, the De Causis et Curis 
Morborum^ to which her name is attached, appears to us 
to be spurious, and probably collected early in the thir- 
teenth century. In the domain of art she also claims a 
place, especially by her church music and by her mystery 
play. But the chief interest in Hildegard will always centre 
round her visions, mainly embodied in two long works, the 
Liber Divinorum Operum Simplicis Hominis, dnid above all in 
the Scivias, a name interpreted by her as Scite vias Domini. 

The faith and creed of Hildegard were naturally those 
of a pious churchwoman of her age. But the especial and 
personal character of her religion was expressed in her 


visions. The general background of these visions is clearly 
borrowed from Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the Apocalypse, and 
indeed with that latter work they have much in common 
both in form and feeling. Hildegard's writings contain 
many beautiful and moving passages, and it is unfortunate 
for the purpose of this essay that the literary value of those 
sections with which we are here concerned is comparatively 

The Wiesbaden MS. 
Manuscripts of Hildegard's various works are numerous, 
but the most interesting is perhaps the magnificently 
illuminated Parchment of the Scivias, which now reposes 
in the Nassauische Landesbibliothek at Wiesbaden. This 
beautiful volume of 235 folios contains numerous miniatures 
of the highest interest for the history of twelfth-century 
art. These have been recently studied by the late Dom 
Louis Baillet,^ of the Benedictine monastery of Osterhoot, 
and to his courtesy and learning the present writer owes 
a debt of gratitude. Baillet, after prolonged study, came 
to the conclusion that the manuscript was written in or 
near Bingen in the twelfth century, and probably towards 
the end of that period. Its miniatures help the reader 
greatly in the interpretation of the visions, and illustrate 

3 A large and tedious literature has arisen around Hildegard and her 
works. The best recent lives of her are by Joseph May, Miinchen, 191 1, 
and J. P. Schmelzeis, Freiburg im Breisgau, 1879. No critical edition of 
her writings has appeared. Many of her works, edited however mainly 
from inferior MSS., are to be found in vol. 197 of J. P. Migne's Patrologia 
Latina. A selection of her miscellaneous writings has been well edited 
by Cardinal J. B. Pitra in his Analeda Hildegardis Opera^ Rome, 1882. A 
Bibliography, fairly complete up to its date, has been provided by A. von 
der Linde in his Katalog der Wiesbadener Handschriften^ Wiesbaden, 1877. 

* Louis Baillet, * Les Miniatures du Scivias de Sainte Hildegarde ', in the 
Monuments et Memoires publies par V Academic des Inscriptions et BelleS' 
LetireSj tome XIX, Paris, 1912. 

T 2, 


them often in the minutest and most unexpected details. 
In view of this and of the extreme difficulty of under- 
standing many of the visions without these illustrations, 
the f)resent writer has little doubt that this particular 
manuscript was supervised by Hildegard herself. As 
she originally set down the Scivias in 1141, there would 
have been plenty of time for the preparation of this 
remarkable manuscript before her death in 11 80. There 
are illuminations accompanying all the visions, and at least 
three of them bear on our subject. 

Hildegard herself could not fail to have been well 
acquainted with the Jews. Benjamin of Tudela, who visited 
Bingen between the years 11 60 and 11 73, and therefore 
during Hildegard's residence there, tells us that a congre- 
gation existed in the town at that time. Benjamin's visit, 
indeed, may well have taken place while our manuscript 
was actually in preparation. The Vision of the Synagogue 
is thus presumably in some degree a polemic against the 
local Jewish community. 

The Vision of the Synagogue (see Fig. i) 
In the various printed editions of the Scivias the text 
of this vision is exceedingly corrupt. We therefore give 
here the text in full, opening out the contractions but 
otherwise transcribing it : 

I. De Synagoga matre incar- (fol. ^^ r.) 

nationis DOMINI, filii del 
II. Verba salemonis. 

III. Verba Ysaiae prophetae. 

IV. De diuerso colore Synagoge. 
V. de cecitate eius et quod in 

corde abraham, in pectore 

'-'C CIV : _ qucnitn 

ccrdc u\hvAl\m\ m pcchnc 
mov$a^ Tnumn-f ctufrrii 

' m^u^u ur TTifTtf Ki 
: H n r arcuUtm i n ai prte $\ 




Moyses. in uentre eius reli- 
qui prophetae. quod significet. 
VI. Quod magna ut turris. ha- 
bens circulum in capite, si- 
milem aurorae. 
VII. Uerba ezechielis. Item 
VIII. Comparatio de samsone, et de 
saul et de dauid ad eandem 

Quinta Visio Prime (fol. 35 v., col. a) 

partis Incipit. 
uidi uelut quan- 
dam muliebrem 
imaginem, a uer- 
tice usque ad umbili- 
cum pallidam, et ab 
umbilico usque ad pedes 
nigram, et in pedibus san- 
guineam, circa pedes 
suos candidissimam et pu- 
rissimam nubem habentem. 
Oculos autem non habebat. 
manus uero suas sub ascellas 
suas posuerat. stans iuxta al- 
tare quod est ante oculos dei : 
sed ipsum non tangebat. Et in cor- 
de ipsius stabat abraham, et in pe- 
ctore eius Moyses. Ac in uentre ip- 
sius reliqui prophetae. singuli signa su- 
a demonstrantes. et pulchritudinem 
Ecclesiae ammirantes. Ipsa uero tante 
magnitudinis apparuit. uelut ali- 


qua turns alicuius ciuitatis est : ha- 
bens in capite suo quasi circulum si- 
milem aurorae. Audivique iterum uo- 
cem de celo dicentem michi. Antique 
populo austeritatem legis deus imposuit 
cum habrahe circumcisionem indi- 
xit. quam postea in gratiam suaui- (fol. 35 v., col. b) 
tatis conuertit per filium suum 
ueritatem evangelii credentibus de- 
dit : ubi lugo legis sauciatos. oleo 
misericordiae delinivit. De Sinagoga 
matre incarnationis filii dei 
I. Quapropter uides uelut quandam 
muliebrem imaginem a uer- 
tice usque ad umbili- 
cum pallidam : quae est Synagoga ma- 
ter incarnationis filii dei existens. 
et ab initio surgentium filiorum suorum 
usque ad fortitudinem eorum secreta dei in 
obumbratione praeuidens. sed ea non pie- 
niter aperiens. ilia autem rutilans 
aurora que aperte loquitur non existens, 
sed earn in multa ammiratione a lon- 
ge intuens. et sic in canticis canticorum 
de ipsa dicens. Verba Salemonis 
II. Que est ista quae ascendit per deser- 
tum deliciis affluens, et innixa 
super dilectum suum. Quod 
dicitur. Quae est hec noua nupta, que 
in plurimis bonis operibus se eleuat per 
deserta paganorum, legalia praecepta sapi- 
entiae dei deserentium. et idola ado- 


rantium, ascendens ad superna desi- 
deria deliciis donorum spiritus sancti habun- 
dans, ac sic studio anhelans et 
se ponens supra sponsum suum, scilicet fi- 
lium dei. Haec enim est quae a filio dei 
dotata. in praeclaris uirtutibus iuget. (fol. 36 r., col. a) 
et in riuulis scriptorum habundat : 
Sed et eadem Synagoga, de filiis eius- 
dem nouae sponsae per multam ammi- 
rationem in seruo meo Ysaia propheta. 
Isyas sic dicit. Verba Isaie prophet ae. 
III. Qui sunt hi ut nubes uo- 

lant, et quasi columbae ad fene- 
stras suas. Quod dicitur. 
Qui sunt isti qui in mentibus suis se abstrahen- 
tes de terrenis ac carnalibus concu- 
piscentiis. pleno desiderio et plena 
deuotione ad superna uolant. et co- 
lumbina simplicitate absque amari- 
tudine fellis. sensus corporis sui mu- 
niunt et munimentum firmissime 
petrae quae unigenitus dei est. multo 
ardore bonarum uirtutum appetuntur. 
Hii enim sunt, qui propter supernum amo- 
rem terrena regna conculcant. et cele- 
stia querunt. Hec Synagoga ammi- 
rabatur de Ecclesia, quoniam se his uirtuti- 
bus ita munitata (?) non cognouit sicut 
illam praeuidit. quia Ecclesia angelicis 
praesidiis circumdata est ne earn diabo- 
lus dilaniet et deiciat. cum Synago- 
ga adeo deserta in uiciis iaceat. 


IV. de diuerso colore Sinagoge. 

Quapropter uides etiam ipsam ab 
umbilico usque ad pedes nigram 
quod est a fortitudine (fol. 361'., col. b) 

suae dilatationis usque ad consummati- 
onem suae extensionis in praeuaricatio- 
ne legis et in transgressione testamen- 
ti patrum suorum sordidam : quia mul- 
tis modis divina praecepta neglexit, et 
voluptatem carnis suae secuta est. Et in 
pedibus sanguinea, circa pedes suos 
candidissimam et purissimam nubem 
habet. quoniam in consummatione sua 
prophetam prophetarum occidit, ubi et ipsa 
lapsa corruit. in eadem tamen consum- 
matione lucidissima et perspicacissima 
fide in mentibus credentium surgente : 
quia ubi sinagoga consummationem 
accepit. Ecclesia surrexit : cum apostolica 
doctrina post mortem filii dei se per 
totum orbem terrarum dilatauit. De 
Cecitate eitis qui quod in corde eius abra- 
ham. in pectore moises, in tmitre eius 
reliqui prophet ae quod significent, 
V. Sed eadem imago oculos non habet. 
manus uero suas sub ascellas su- 
as ponit. quia sinagoga in veram lucem 
non aspexit cum unigenitum dei in despe- 
ctu habuit. unde et opera iusticiae sub te- 
dio pigriciae suae torporem a se non proici- 
ens tegit. sed ea velut non sint negligenter 
abscondit : stans juxta altare quod est 


ante oculos dei, sed ipsum non tangit. quoniam le- 
gem del quam divino praecepto. et divina 
inspectione accepit. exterius quidem (fol. ^6 v., 
nouit. sed earn interius non tetigit. quia col. a) 
earn potius abhorruit quam dilige- 
ret. sacrificia et incensum devotarum 
orationum deo offerre negligens. Sed 
in corde ipsius stat abraham. quoniam ini- 
cium circumcisionis in sinagoga ips- 
se fuit : et in pectore eius moyses. 
quia in praecordia hominum divinam le£;-em 
tile attulit. ac in uentre ipsius reliqui 
prophetae. id est in institucione ilia quae 
ipsi diuinitus tradita fuerat. inspec- 
tores diuinorum praeceptorum singuli sig- 
na sua demonstrantes et pulchritudi- 
nem Ecclesiae amirantes. quoniam ipsi mi- 
racula prophetiae suae in mirabilibus sig- 
nis ostenderunt. et speciositatem gene- 
rositatis nouae sponsae in multa ammi- 
ratione attendunt. Qtiod magna 
ut ttirris. habens circidtim in capite. 
Ipsa uero tantae similem anrore, VI. 
magnitudinis apparet. uelut aliqua 
turns alicuius ciuitatis est : quia ma- 
gnitudinem diuinorum praeceptorum sus- 
cipiens. municionem et defensionem 
nobilis et electae ciuitatis pronunciauit 


habens in capite suo circulum similem 
aurore. quia etiam in ortu suo mi- 
raculum incarnationis unigeniti dei 
persignauit et claras uirtutes ac mi- 


steria que secuntur praemonstrauit. 

Nam Ipsa uelut in primo mane coro- (fol. ^6 v., 

nata fuit. cum diuina praecepta acce- col. b) 

pit ! designans adam qui primum 

uissionem dei percepit. sed postea in trans- 

gressione sua in mortem cecidit. Sic 

et iudei fecerunt. qui divinam legem 

primitus susceperunt. sed deinde fili- 

um dei in incredulitate sua abiece- 

runt. Sed et sicut homo per mortem uni- 

geniti dei circa nouissimum tempus de 

perditione mortis ereptus est. * ita et Sy- 

nagoga ante nouissimum tempus de 

perdicione mortis ereptus est.* ita et si- 

nagoga ante nouissimum diem per di- 

uinam clementiam exercitata. incre- 

dulitatem deferet. et ad cognitionem 

dei ueraciter perueniet Quid est hoc ? 

Nonne aurora ante solem ascendit ? 

Sed aurora recidit. et claritas solis per- 

manet. Quid est hoc? Uetus testamen- 

tum recessit. et ueritas euuangelium per- 

manet. quia quae antiqui in legali- 

bus obseruationibus carnaliter obser- 

uabant. Haec nouus populus in nouo te- 

stamento spiritaliter exercet. quoniam 

quod illi in carne ostenderunt. hoc 

isti in spiritu perficiunt. Nam circumcisio 

non periit. quia inbaptismum transla- 

ta est. quoniam ut illi in uno membro sig- 

*-* In ]y[s. this passage is lined through. 


nati sunt, sic et isti in omnibus membris 
suis. Unde antiqua praecepta non perie- 
runt. quia in meliorem statum trans- 
lata sunt, cum etiam in nouissi- (fol. 37 r.. col. a) 
mo tempore, sinagoga ad Ecclesiam 
se fideliter transferret. Nam o Sy- 
nagoga cum in multis iniquitatibus 
errares. ita quod cum baal et cum ce- 
teris his similibus te poUueres. con- 
suetudinem legis turpissimis mori- 
bus scindens et nuda in peccatis tuis 
iacens ! feci ut ezecbiel seruus meus 
loquitur dicens. Verba ezechielis 
EXPANDI amictum meum super VII. 
te. et operui ignominiam tuam : 
et iuravi tibi. et ingressus sum 
pactum tecum. Quod dicitur. Ego. 
filius altissimi, in uoluntate patris 
mei extendi incarnationem meam. 
o sinagoga super te. id est pro salute tu- 
a, auferens peccata tua, que in mul- 
tis obliuionibus operata es. et firmaui 
tibi remedium saluationis. ita quod 
itinera federis mei ad salutem tuam 
manifestaui cum ueram fidem per 
apostolicam doctrinam tibi aperui qua- 
tenus (?) praecepta mea obseruares. uelut 
mulier potestati mariti sui subiace- 
re debet. Nam asperitatem exterio- 
ris legis a te abstuli, et suauitatem 
spiritualis doctrinae tibi dedi. ac 
omnia Hysteria mea in spiritualibiis 


doctrinis per metipsum tibi 
ostendi. Sed tu me iustum deseruisti. 
et diabolo te iunxisti. Comparatur (fol. 37 r., col. b) 
de Samsone. et de Saul, et 
de Dmdd, ad eandem rem, 
Sed tu o homo intellige. scili- 
cet ut samsonem uxor ipsius 
deseruit, ita quod lumine suo priua- 
tus est : sic et sinagoga filium dei dese- 
ruit cum eum obdurata spreuit. et cum 
doctrinam illius abiecit. Sed postquam 
deinde capilli eius iam renati sunt 
ita quod ecclesia dei confortata est. 
idem filius dei in fortitudine sua 
Synagogam deiecit. et natos illius ex- 
heredauit. cum etiam per paganos 
deum ignorantes. in zelo dei contriti 
sunt. Ipsa enim multis erroribus to- 
cius confusionis et scismatis se subie- 
cerat. et cum preuaricationibus tocius 
iniquitatis se poUuerat. Sed etiam quem- 
admodum dauid uxorem suam quam 
sibi primitus desponsauerat. et quae cum 
alio uiro se polluerat tandem reuoca- 
uit. ita etiam et filius dei Synagogam 
que sibi primum in incarnatione sua 
conuincta erat. sed gratiam baptismi 
deserens diabolum secuta fuerat. 
tandem circa nouissimum tempus 
recipiet : ubi ipsa errores infideli- 
tatis suae deferens, ad lumen veri- 
tatis redibit. Nam diabolus Syna- 


gogam in cecitate illius rapuerat (fol. '^'^ v., col. a) 
et earn infidelitatem in multis erroribus 
tradiderat : nee hoc usque ad filiam perdi- 
cionis facere cessabit. qui dum in ex- 
altatione superbiae suae ceciderit velut 
saul in monte gelboe interfectus ex- 
spirauit. qui dauid de terra sua fuga- 
uerat. sicut etiam filius iniquitatis 
filium meum in electis suis Expellere 
tentabit. tunc idem filius meus an- 
ticristo deiecto. Synagogam ad ueram 
fidem reuocabit. sicut et dauid pri- 
mam uxorem suam post mortem saulis 
recepit : Cum in nouissimo tempore 
homines ilium per quern decepti fue- 
rant, uictum uiderint. et ad uiam 
salutis cum multa festinatione re- 
current. Non autem decuit ut ue- 
ritas euangelii umbram legis praenun- 
ciaret. quoniam decet ut carnalia praecurrant 
et spiritalia subsequantur. quia etiam 
seruus dominum suum uenturum praedi- 
cit. et non dominus seruum in seruicio prae- 
currit. Ita et sinagoga in umbra sig- 
nificationis praecucurrit. et Ecclesia in lu- 
mine ueritatis subsecuta est. Unde 
quicumque scientiam in spiritu sancto et pen- 
nas in fide habet. iste admonitio- 
nem meam non transcendat. Sed earn 
in gustu animae suae amplectendo 

28o the jewish quarterly review 

Translation of the Vision of the Synagogue 

* I saw the appearance of a woman, light in colour from 
the head to the lap and black from the lap downward, but 
her feet were bloodstained, and a brilliant shining cloud 
was round about them. She was sightless, and her hands 
were folded under her armpits. And she stood hard by 
the altar which is before the eyes of God, yet she touched 
it not. In her heart stood Abraham, and in her bosom 
Moses, and in her belly were the other prophets, bearing 
each his own emblem, and all adoring the beauty of the 
Church. She appeared tall as a citadel, and round her 
head a wreath like to the dawn. 

And I heard a voice from heaven speaking to me, 
saying : God placed the burden of His law on His ancient 
people when He ordained the circumcision unto Abraham, 
but in after days by the grace of His mercy He changed 
this when, through His son, He gave the truth of His gospel 
to those who believed on Him. Thus did He anoint with 
the oil of His mercy the chafing wounds caused by the 
yoke of His law. 

(i) Concerning the Synagogue as mother of the Son of 
God in the flesh. 

This figure which thou seest as a woman, pale from 
head to lap, is the Synagogue, the true mother of the 
incarnate Son of God, And from the first when her sons 
arose with such strength as was in them, she hath seen 
the secrets of God, but darkly and not in their fullness. 
Yet is she not that rosy dawn which was clearly prophesied, 
but she perceiveth it from afar. With great wonder she 
speaketh thus of herself in the Song of Songs : [8. 5] 

{2f) " Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness 


overflowing with delights and leaning on her beloved." 
It is this new bride who raiseth herself by the multitude 
of her good works in the desert of unbelief, where men 
desiring laws rather than God's wisdom, do but worship 
idols. But, rising to noble desire, and overflowing with the 
joys of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and filled with zeal, 
she leaneth on her spouse, the Son of God. For she is 
His portion, and she is joined to Him in shining virtues, 
and she overfloweth with the rich springs of the Word. 

(3) And in great wonder concerning the offspring of 
that union, the Synagogue speaketh thus by the mouth of 
Isaiah, my servant (Isa. 60. 8) : " Who are these that fly as 
a cloud and as a dove to their windows.'' Who are those, 
that is, who abandoning earthly thoughts and carnal desires 
turn their whole yearning and devotion to heaven, and with 
the simplicity of doves and with no earthly bitterness they 
seek the fortress of the true rock, the only begotten Son, 
and aspire to good deeds with burning ardour. These are 
they who despise the kingdom of this world because of 
their love for the heavenly. 

This Synagogue marvelleth concerning the Church thus 
armed with virtues, and findeth her not as she had foreseen. 
For the church is girt by guardian angels lest the devil 
injure her or cast her down, while the Synagogue lieth in 
sin, forsaken of God. 

(4) Of the varied colour of the Synagogue. 

She is black from lap to feet. This implieth that she 
is defiled in all her wide borders by her violation of the 
law and her transgression of the testament of her fathers, 
for she neglected the divine precepts to follow after the 
lusts of the flesh. 

There is blood about her feet, yet are they surrounded 


by a most pure and shining cloud. This is because in her 
consummation she slew the prophet of prophets, and with 
that crime she fell. But in that very act did the true faith 
arise in the souls of those who believed, for when the 
Synagogue accepted her consummation the Church arose, 
and after the death of the Son she spread herself by her 
apostolic doctrine throughout the world. 

(5) Concerning the blindness of the figure. 

The figure is sightless and hath folded arms, because 
the Synagogue seeth not the true light but holdeth the 
Only Begotten in contempt, and because, not putting away 
her torpor, she covereth her just works under the pall of 
her sloth and concealeth them as though they were not. 

And she standeth by the altar but touch^th it not, for 
that she accepteth the Law of God in precept and theory 
and knoweth it from without ; vet she attaineth not to its 
inward meaning, for, neglecting the true sacrifice of prayer, 
she rejecteth rather than pursueth it. 

But Abraham is in her heart, for [through him] circum- 
cision was first in the Synagogue ; and Moses is in her 
bosom, for he brought the divine law to men's hearts ; and 
the other prophets are in her belly, for that [law] descendeth 
by grace divine through her. These searchers after the 
divine precepts all display their proper emblems and adore 
the beauty of the Church, because they themselves, in the 
miracles of their prophecy, foretold her wonders, and they 
waited adoring the glory of the new espousal. 

(6) She is tall as a tower and hath a circlet like the 
dawn round her head. 

She appeareth tall as a citadel because, containing the 
might of the divine precepts, she advertiseth the provision 
and defence of the chosen city. 


She hath around her head a circlet like the dawn, 
because in her origin she predesignated the miracle of the 
Incarnation and foretold those shining virtues and mysteries 
which followed. For she was, as it were, crowned by that 
first dawn when she accepted the divine precepts after the 
manner of Adam who first saw God. But afterwards she 
died in her sin, for so the Jews have done who did receive 
the first divine law, but then thrust away the Son in their 
unbelief, for man was delivered from perdition in the new 
age by the death of the Only Begotten One. 

Thus the Synagogue, disciplined by divine mercy, did 
indeed before the new day put away unbelief, and did in truth 
attain to the knowledge of God. What portendeth this ? 
Doth not the dawn appear before the sun ? But the dawn 
fadeth and the light of day remaineth. What doth this 
portend ? The old dispensation passeth, the new Evangel 
remaineth. For the ancients observed the Law after the 
flesh, but the new people worketh by the spirit according 
to the new dispensation. . . . For circumcision was not 
abrogated but was changed into baptism, for the one acts 
on a single member alone, but the other on all the members. 
And similarly the old laws have not perished but have been 
changed into better ones. 

Wherefore in the fulfilment of years the Synagogue 
shall, believing, hand herself over to the church, for thou, 
O Synagogue, wanderest in many iniquities and pollutest 
thyself as though with Baal and his like, by cleaving to the 
observance of the law with its evil customs and by lying 
naked in thy sins. 

(7) Do thou as commanded by my servant Ezekiel 
[16. 8]: '* I spread my skirt over thee and covered thy 
shame. Yea, I sware unto thee and entered into a covenant 



with thee ", as though it were said, I, Son of the Most High, 
do cover thee, O Synagogue, by the will of my father with 
my Incarnation, that is for thy health, and I do bear the 
sins which thou hast worked in darkness. 

And 1 have assured for thee the means of salvation, 
and have shown forth the path of my covenant when 
I revealed to thee the true faith by apostolic doctrine, so 
that thou shouldst observe my precepts, even as a w^oman 
should submit herself to the rule of her husband. 

For I removed from thee the severity of the outward 
law, and gave thee the grace of spiritual doctrine, and 
I revealed to thee through myself all the mysteries of my 
spiritual doctrine, but thou hast forsaken me, thy lawful 
spouse, and joined thyself to the devil. 

(8) Comparison under the same head of Samson, Saul, 
and David. 

But understand this, O man! Just as when his wife 
betrayed Samson, his light was put out, so hath the 
Synagogue betrayed the Son of God, and unrepentantly 
despised Him and rejected His doctrine. But later, when 
His hair is grown again, as when the Church grew strong, 
this same Son of God in His might cast down the Syna- 
gogue and disinherited her children, so that the very 
heathen, ignorant of God, were moved by His anger. 

But she lay in the errors of utter confusion and schism 
and defiled herself with the follies of sin. And so also 
David espoused a wife whom he at length reclaimed when 
she had defiled herself with another. Similarly the Son 
was at first through His Incarnation wedded to the Syna- 
gogue, but she, rejecting the grace of baptism, was lured by 
the devil. But at length, in the new age He will receive 
her when, abandoning her errors and unbelief, she will 


return to the light of truth. For Satan ravished the 
Synagogue in her blindness, and betrayed her in her 
infidelity and error, and will not cease to act as a son of 

But in the exaltation of his pride he will perish as Saul 
did, who drove David from his land, and was pierced 
through and died on Mount Gilboa. So also the son of 
iniquity will attempt to expel my Son ; but my Son, having 
thrown down Antichrist, will call back the Synagogue to 
the true faith, as David took back his wife after Saul's death. 

And so in the new age men will witness the overthrow 
of him by whom they were deceived and will rush to the 
paths of salvation. For it was not fitting that the truth of 
the Evangel should precede the gloom of the Law, but it 
was more fitting that the carnal should precede and the 
spiritual follow. For the servant predicteth the coming of 
the master, but the master goeth not before the servant. 
Thus the Synagogue came first in the shadow of symbolism, 
and the church followed in the full light of truth. 

Wherefore whoever hath the knowledge of the Holy 
Spirit and the wings of faith in him, will not transgress my 
warning but will embrace it with joyful soul.' 

The Miniature of the Synagogue 

The background is gold. The upper part of the figure 
as far as the waist is a pale purple, the lower part is dark 
blue or black. The feet are scarlet, and around them is 
a silver area. Across the forehead runs the circlet, which 
is gilt with a red tinge to signify the dawn. The eyes are 
fast closed, and the countenance downcast, and the hands 
folded impotently across the breast. 

U !2 


On the bosom of the figure is Moses. He is clad in 
a red cloak over a pale blue tunic. His countenance is 
raised. On his head he wears the blue conical cap that 
was the characteristic mark of the Jews in the Rhineland 
of the twelfth century. His left hand is concealed, under 
his cloak, but in his right he holds the two tables of the 
Law, coloured dark red and arranged in their traditional 
form. This is probably one of the earliest manuscript 
representations of the double tables of the Law.^ 

Below the arms of the figure and placed in the * epi- 
gastric ' region can be seen Abraham, holding the circum- 
cisional knife in his right hand. In front of and somewhat 
below him is presumably the figure of Aaron, distinguished 
by his white head-dress, from the front of which are 
suspended three small rings or jewels. The other prophets, 
of whom ten are represented, have no head coverings. They 
all look expectantly for the coming Messiah. 

The Market-place (Fig. 2^) 
The blue conical Jewish hat appears twice more in the 
miniatures of the Wiesbaden MS., in Book II, Vision VII, 
folio ii6 recto, and in Book III, Vision IV, folio 145 verso. 
The former scene represents a market-place. We will not 
detain the reader with Hildegard's allegorical interpretation, 
which is of no specificdlly Jewish interest, but her descrip- 
tion of the scene we give below ; 

(Fig. 2) 'quasi forum ubi diuitiae hominum atque 
deliciae seculares et mercatus diuersarum rerum apparue- 
runt ; ubi etiam quidam homines multa celeritate currentes. 

5 The facts in connexion with the representation of the Decalogue in 
Art have been collected by Dr. Israel Abrahams in Studies in Jewish 
Literature presented to Professor Kaufmann Kohler, See also Cahier and 
Martin, loc, cit. 




nullum mercatum faciebant. quidam autem tepide euntes. 
et venditioni et emptioni ibi insistebant' (fol. 15 r., col. b). 
At the back of the picture are seen two merchants at 
their stalls with the characteristic Jewish hats. They are 
beckoning the two * tepide euntes ' purchasers, while upon 
their stalls are spread a somewhat meagre selection of 
* deliciae seculares ', among which gauntlets and girdles can 
be distinguished. Lower down in the forum can be seen 
a group of those 'quidam homines multa celeritate cur- 
rentes ', urged to even more rapid movement by a monk 
behind them. 

It will be noted that, except for the hat, the costume 
of the Jews is similar to that of the other frequenters of 
the forum. There is no appearance of a special Jewish 
cast of countenance. Nor does Hildegard anywhere refer 
to the Jews as engaged in any form of finance, but only 
in trade. 

The Column of the Word of God (Fig. 3) 

The next miniature that we here consider is an allegorical 
representation of the tree or column of God's word (folio 145 
verso, Book II, Vision IV, Fig. 3). On one side of the 
column, poised in the angle of its branches, sit various 
prophets. At the base is Abraham with the Jewish hat, 
then Moses, then Joshua, and in the highest ring a fourth 
figure in the typical hat exemplifying the remaining 
prophets. On the other side of the trunk peep out the 
heads of the apostles, martyrs, and virgins. On the summit, 
shaped like a Corinthian capital, is perched the Dove, 
surrounded by flames and bearing in its beak the true light 
symbolized by a gilded moon-shaped object. 


The remaining picture that concerns us here (Fig. 4) is 
in the following folio (folio 146 recto, Fig. 4), where there 
is a very spirited miniature of a benign female figure, 
emblematic of the knowledge of God, surrounded by angels. 
On her right, a group of her followers crowd in upon her, 
while to her left her rebellious children dance out of the 
picture (Book II, Vision IV). Among these rebels the 
Jews are to be included, and the facial character of the 
foremost of the three is perhaps an attempt on the part 
of the artist to imply this. In any case the free drawing 
and movement of these figures is sufficiently remarkable 
in a twelfth-century MS. to justify the reproduction of 
the miniature. 

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