Word and Flesh

The Song of Songs from the Old Testament inspired both religious and secular love poetry over many centuries. It may seem paradoxical that medieval nuns and monks found in it one of their most important sources of inspiration to describe and discover man's connection to himself and to God.

Hildegard Elisabeth Keller's first book, Wort und Fleisch, takes as its point of departure the commentary on the Song of Songs, known as the St. Trudperter Hohelied, that was written for women. This sophisticated text of the twelfth century aspires to employ early Middle High German language to bring body and soul together on the way of unio mystica. The author investigates this aspiration critically, examines the conceptions of body and soul it employs, as well as the terminology it uses to define what it means to be a human being, and develops a phenomenology of the incarnational mysticism in female monastic communities.

Table of Contents

(Kopie 1)

Wort und Fleisch. Körperallegorien, mystische Spiritualität und Dichtung des St. Trudperter Hoheliedes im Horizont der Inkarnationtypo3temp/pics/7cbcc43b33.jpg

Bern, Berlin, Frankfurt/M., New York, Paris, Wien. 565 pages
ISBN 978-3-906750-23-1
Peter Lang 1993 (Deutsche Literatur von den Anfängen bis 1700, volume 15)


"This stirring and convincingly written book concerns itself in novel ways with the twelfth-century German vernacular paraphrase of the Song of Songs known as the 'St. Trudperter Hohelied' from the perspectives of the history of literature, mentalité, and spirituality." (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

"An important, if also admittedly demanding work that can be recommended and that will find a firm place in the research on mysticism." (Erbe und Auftrag)

"This work is so broad in scope and so profoundly thorough that research on the St. Trudperter Hohelied will not be able to avoid it for decades to come." (N. Voorwinden)


Zeitschrift für Didaktik der Philosophie und Ethik, 20/1 (1998): 77-78 (Volker Frederking)
36/3-4 (1995): 838
1 (1995): 26-28 (Hans-Jörg Spitz)
Erbe und Auftrag,
70/2 (1994): 158-159 (JK)
Zentralblatt für Erziehungswissenschaft
9 (1994): 1671
Deutsche Bücher
1 (1994): 42-43 (N. Voorwinden)
Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur PBB
115/2 (1993): 193
Neue Zürcher Zeitung
, 13./14. März 1993: 26 (L.G.)