Who's Who in Medieval History
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Peter Abelard was also known as:
Peter Abelard was known for:
Places of Residence and Influence:
Quotation from Peter Abelard:
- "The first key to wisdom is defined, of course, as assiduous and frequent questioning."
---- Sic et Non, translated by W. J. Lewis
About Peter Abelard:
Abelard was the son of a knight, and he gave up his inheritance to study philosophy, particularly logic; he would become renowned for his brilliant use of dialectics. He attended many different schools seeking knowledge from a variety of teachers, and often came into conflict with them because he was so headstrong and certain of his own brilliance. (The fact that he really was brilliant didn't help matters.) By 1114 Peter Abelard was teaching in Paris, where he met and tutored Heloise and became a notable figure of the twelfth-century Renaissance.
Peter Abelard's affair with Heloise (whom he had married) came to an abrupt end when her uncle, wrongly believing Abelard was forcing her to become a nun, sent thugs to his house to castrate him. The scholar hid his shame by becoming a monk, and his philosophical focus shifted from logic to theology. Abelard's subsequent career was extremely rocky; he was even condemned as a heretic at one point, and the work the Church deemed heretical was burned.
Because Abelard was so cocksure, applied logic so ruthlessly to matters of faith, criticized anything he found worthy of contempt and frequently insulted fellow clerics, he was not well-loved by his contemporaries. However, even his harshest critics had to concede that Peter Abelard was one of the greatest thinkers and teachers of his time.
For more about Peter Abelard, his relationship with Heloise, and the events that followed, visit your Guide's feature, A Medieval Love Story.
More Peter Abelard Resources:A Medieval Love Story
Online Text of Abelard's Historia Calamitatum
Quotations by Peter Abelard
Encyclopedia Article about Peter Abelard
Abelard and Heloise Picture Gallery
Peter Abelard in Print
Peter Abelard on the Web
Philosophy & Theology
Abelard & Heloise on Film
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Based on the fictional novel by Marion Meade, this 1989 film was directed by Clive Donner and stars Derek de Lint and Kim Thomson.
Who's Who Directories: