Bibliographies Quotes Symposium

History and Practice: the Opening of Hildegard’s Scivias in a Liturgical Framework

I will lay my cards on the table, as that is the expectation in this publication: I think that every repertory of literature, music, art, history, and architecture belongs equally to all citizens of this earth, and that anyone, no matter his or her cultural bias or faith claims, of lack thereof, can learn what is needed for proper and important intellectual contributions. I also think that when it comes to religion, people of faith can know either more or less than those who come at the work from a stance (deliberate or otherwise) of non-practice. Qualities of work will depend on intellect, imagination, training, and industry rather than cultural or religious viewpoints.

In my view, to have an atheist, a Jew, a Christian, a Buddhist, and a Muslim walk into the proverbial bar together, acknowledging and enjoying each other’s positions as they do so, is the best way to learn. Stereotypes should make us suspicious when we encounter them, and every person needs to examine his or her own: people of faith are not, or at least do not have to be, of lesser intellect or more prejudiced than people whose belief systems are outside of or even antagonistic to organized religion. It is by the same token perfectly possible for non-religious people to understand religious subjects, and often with great profundity.

But just as people of faith need to value the ideas of scholars who do not profess, so too is it important for non-religious scholars to rein in residual antagonisms for those who walk the walk.

-MARGOT FASSLER, “History and Practice: the Opening of Hildegard’s Scivias in a Liturgical

Framework,” Religion & Literature 42.1-2 (2010): 211 – 227 (p. 211-12)