This presentation will address the medieval practice of analyzing Trinitarian dogma via the comparison of theological concepts to natural phenomena. An initial examination of Abelard’s Christian Theology will provide the intellectual foundation for this project, as it details instances in which the Trinity can be (partially) understood in association with certain natural elements. This intellectual project will then be expanded into the realm of art, with an analysis of the Trinity illustration included in Hildegard of Bingen’s Liber Scivias. The natural world will thus be seen as the inspiration for medieval creativity, as it reflected the essence and will of God.
According to Romans 1:20, God’s eternal power and divine nature, though invisible, are seen through the ‘things he has made.’ A variety of natural theologies emerged in the Middle Ages depending on individuals’ perceptions—both spiritual and empirical—of the ways of God and nature. Biblical texts on the Creation, which both allowed for and limited divine and natural changeability, were foundational to these understandings. This paper explores some of the ways medieval minds interpreted both scripture and nature in order to fathom the character of God.
This paper will look at Anselm’s meditations on the Incarnation as he expresses them in his three Prayers to the Virgin, wherein he posits that at the moment of Christ’s conception the Universe was recreated in a new and human-inclusive form. These meditations will then be reconciled with his more formal theological statements on the Creation and the nature of the universe in Cur Deus Homo and other of his works.