Verdant Medicine: Hildegard’s Resonant Apothecary

On Friday, April 30th from 2-4pm EDT, specialists in medieval music Alkemie present a livestream performance of Verdant Medicine: Hildegard’s Resonant Apothecary featuring works by composer, abbess, and apothecary Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) that focus on her healing use of plants.

This should be a fantastic event, zoom notwithstanding!

For tickets and more information, see

The musical performance will be immediately followed by a roundtable conversation with the musicians and with three noted scholars, Dr. Victoria Sweet (Rooted in the Earth, Rooted in the Sky: Hildegard of Bingen and Premodern Medicine), Dr. Alisha Rankin (Panaceia’s Daughters: Noblewomen as Healers in Early Modern Germany), and Dr. Minji Lee (“Woman’s Body In-Between: The Holy and Monstrous Womb in Medieval Medicine and Religion”) and moderated by Johns Hopkins historian of medicine Dr. Mary Fissell.

Created in conjunction with Johns Hopkins Program in Arts, Humanities, & Health and supported by the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies, this musical event will include hand-made “Intersensory Program Cards” that pair Hildegard’s music, texts, and associated images with materials that audiences can literally smell, taste, touch, and hear. The cards will be mailed to audience members who register by April 22nd.


Oliver Sacks’s Death Day

It has been three years since Oliver Sacks, my mentor and friend, died, and I’m happy to say that his sweet temperament and brilliant mind are being kept alive by many people, including Kate Edgar and Bill Hayes, who wrote this piece for the NYT. Marvelously, a beautiful animated film is being made of his life, for which a link can be found in the middle of the article. Sigh.

The Haste which Mars the Dignity of Every Act (Dante)

Take a look at this beautiful summary of the essence of the matter, by Albert Dolara MD, the cardiologist who first used the phrase “Slow Medicine,” published in SM Brazil, by Marco Bobbio MD. It begins:

“The well-educated professor Alberto Dolara, the one who first wrote an article using the term Slow medicine, starts his new paper on haste in medicine quoting the Divine Comedy written by Dante Alighieri. The poet synthetically expresses the negative effect of haste on every human action; even seven centuries ago hurrying up was seen as a hazard of spoiling the dignity of every action (Purgatory, Canto III, row 10-11):la fretta, che l’onestade ad ogn’atto dismaga (“the haste which mars the dignity of every act”).