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Hildegard Von Bingen's "Physica": The Complete English Translation of Her Classic Work on Health and Healing Hardcover – 1 Sep 1998


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Healing Arts Press (1 Sept. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892816619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892816613
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 0.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 123,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Gives a good sense of 12th century herbalism based on humors, common superstition, and sprinkled with a dose of Bingen's mystical insights. -- American Herb Association, Vol 16:2

Saint, mystic, healer, visionary, fighter, Hildegard von Bingen stands as one of the great figures in the history of women in medicine. She was renowned for her healing work and her original theories of medicine. -- Elisbeth Brooke, in Women Healers

About the Author

A Latin and Greek scholar, Priscilla Throop holds a master's degree from the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, as well as a Certificate of Advanced Theological Studies from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge. She is a member of the Vermont Classical Language Association and is currently translating Isidore of Seville's "Etymologiae." She lives in Charlotte, Vermont.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Naushika on 22 Jan. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book which consists of nine books (plants, elements, trees, stones, fish, birds, animals, reptiles and metals) can be considered the foundation of Hildegard's medicine. Hildegard explains the nature and benefits/dangers of each creature and element to human beings. Physica is very easy to read unlike her books on theology which require background knowledge of Christianity. As a naturopath ho practices Hildegard's medicine, I refer to this book quite from time to time.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By a addison on 5 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this after reading Dr Wighard Strehlow Hildegards medicine. The more i read about Hildegards healing methods and attitude to health the more i realised how modern a lot of her ideas were and how ahead of her time she was in many of her ideas to health. Its worth thinking beyond the medieval prose that is interesting in itself and looking at her attitude to health as she echos a lot of what we know is good practice ie rest sensible eating habits and moderation in all things.a gem
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Top class books, great for well being in mind and body
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By Laf on 18 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great thanks
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 33 reviews
97 of 108 people found the following review helpful
Translation avoiding Christian themes 6 Jun. 2011
By earthtones - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is very interesting as other reviewers noted. The biggest issue I have with it is the poor translation of Christian themes (natural to a work written by a nun of the 12th century). Where the word "demon" is used in the original text, the translator, Priscilla Throop, renders it as "airy spirit". And yes, there is a big difference between an "airy spirit" and a demon. Consider which one you would want in your bedroom at night. Yes, there is a difference. This makes me wonder what else Throop is twisting to fit her own worldview instead of simply giving us Hildegard's writings in common English.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Translation 4 Jan. 2013
By Mary - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My husband and I are enjoying reading this book. Since Hildegard has been made a Doctor of the Catholic Church, we've been exploring her writings and music. Our complaint is that the translation of this book doesn't well reflect the deep faith of St. Hildegard: she believed in Jesus and much of what she wrote was the fruit of prayer and study. This book translates the parts speaking of her faith rather stumblingly. We look forward to a more informed translation of this and her other books.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
An lovely Treatise of Health and Healing arts of the Middle Ages 15 Oct. 2012
By J. L. R. Reed - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Before we begin, this book is not meant for modern practitioners of herbal medicines. If you are looking for recipes and how-tos, this is NOT the book for you. It is written for the audiences of the Middle Ages. These recipes and suggestions are not appropriate to modern usage, some could be potentially poisonous to the patient.

For modern scholars, it gives us an insight into the thoughts on and healing practices of the day. Von Bingen examines Humorism and the aspects of other plants, minerals, and animal and how they apply to remedies. Like many medieval works on health and healing, it is part religion, part observation, and part magic and whimsy (e.g., unicorn horns - though these could be represented by Narwhal horns).

As stated before, when looking for healing recipes and herbal facts, modern practitioners of the healing arts should be VERY cautious in applying any recipes found in these old texts. Not all of them are safe and if making use of animal parts, some may not be legal.

Other works that students may find interesting:
Medieval Herbal Remedies: The Old English Herbarium and Anglo-Saxon Medicine
Leechcraft: Early English Charms, Plantlore and Healing
Medieval Herbals: The Illustrative Traditions (The British Library Studies in Medieval Culture)
The Trotula: An English Translation of the Medieval Compendium of Women's Medicine (The Middle Ages Series)

This book a nice translation of one of Hildegard von Bingen's works.
30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Interesting, but challenging 3 Aug. 2007
By Eclectic Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have tried to use this book once or twice. One of the things that still make me giggle is using lion's ears to combat deafness. Then I remembered all these animal body-parts that are still being harvested for their medical qualities that are bringing the animals into extinction -- like is the case with the rhinoceros and the shark. So I stop giggling and stick to the plant sections.

The recipes that Hildegard uses are sometimes hard to do because I simply have no idea what some of the plants she uses are. She also uses wine a lot, which is new to me. I come from a tea tradition, so boiling things in wine is a true novelty. Maybe this is why I have not used it much since it can be very different from what I know. On the other hand, it has provided me wonderful new experiences in the herbal work! I have not used the mineral section yet, and only stuck to the plant section.

At the very least, it is a fascinating treatise on medieval medicine. I do recommend it!
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Engaging, Historical Compendium 14 Jun. 2007
By Tj Reilley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
From herbal treatments to stone power, Hildegard covers it all in this excellent translation by Priscilla Throop. Anyone interested in the holistic and deep level personhood approach of Hildegard (she was much more than her music) will count this book as essential to their collection. Hildegard as theologian, philosopher, musician, and natural healer can all be seen in Physica. Enjoy!!!
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