56 Facts About Peter Abelard


Peter Abelard is sometimes credited as a chief forerunner of modern empiricism.


Peter Abelard was a defender of women and of their education.


Still considering herself as his spouse even though both retired to monasteries after this event, Heloise publicly defended him when his doctrine was condemned by Pope Innocent II and Abelard considered a heretic.


Peter Abelard is considered to be the most significant forerunner of the modern self-reflective autobiographer.


Peter Abelard paved the way and set the tone for later epistolary novels and celebrity tell-alls with his publicly distributed letter, The History of My Calamities, and public correspondence.


In law, Peter Abelard stressed that, because the subjective intention determines the moral value of human action, the legal consequence of an action is related to the person who commits it and not merely to the action.


Around this time he changed his surname to Peter Abelard, sometimes written Abailard or Abaelardus.


Retrospectively, Peter Abelard portrays William as having turned from approval to hostility when Peter Abelard proved soon able to defeat his master in argument.


Peter Abelard's teaching was notably successful, but the stress taxed his constitution, leading to a nervous breakdown and a trip home to Brittany for several years of recovery.


On his return, after 1108, he found William lecturing at the hermitage of Saint-Victor, just outside the Ile de la Cite, and there they became rivals, with Peter Abelard challenging William over his theory of universals.


Peter Abelard was once more victorious, and Peter Abelard was almost able to attain the position of master at Notre Dame.


Unimpressed by Anselm's teaching, Peter Abelard began to offer his own lectures on the book of Ezekiel.


Peter Abelard returned to Paris where, in around 1115, he became master of the cathedral school of Notre-Dame and a canon of Sens.


Peter Abelard was famous as the most well-educated and intelligent woman in Paris, renowned for her knowledge of classical letters, including not only Latin but Greek and Hebrew.


Heloise became pregnant and was sent by Peter Abelard to be looked after by his family in Brittany, where she gave birth to a son, whom she named Astrolabe, after the scientific instrument.


Peter Abelard rescued her by sending her to the convent at Argenteuil, where she had been brought up, to protect her from her uncle.


Fulbert, infuriated that Heloise had been taken from his house and possibly believing that Peter Abelard had disposed of her at Argenteuil in order to be rid of her, arranged for a band of men to break into Peter Abelard's room one night and castrate him.


In shame of his injuries, Peter Abelard retired permanently as a Notre Dame canon, with any career as a priest or ambitions for higher office in the church shattered by his loss of manhood.


Peter Abelard effectively hid himself as a monk at the monastery of St Denis, near Paris, avoiding the questions of his horrified public.


Roscellinus and Fulk of Deuil ridiculed and belittled Peter Abelard for being castrated.


Heloise protested her separation from Peter Abelard, sending numerous letters re-initiating their friendship and demanding answers to theological questions concerning her new vocation.


Shortly after the birth of their child, Astrolabe, Heloise and Peter Abelard were both cloistered.


Peter Abelard's name derives from the astrolabe, a Persian astronomical instrument said to elegantly model the universe and which was popularized in France by Adelard of Bath.


Peter Abelard is mentioned in Abelard's poem to his son, the Carmen Astralabium, and by Abelard's protector, Peter the Venerable of Cluny, who wrote to Heloise: "I will gladly do my best to obtain a prebend in one of the great churches for your Astrolabe, who is ours for your sake".


Two pupils of Anselm of Laon, Alberich of Reims and Lotulf of Lombardy, instigated proceedings against Peter Abelard, charging him with the heresy of Sabellius in a provincial synod held at Soissons in 1121.


Peter Abelard was then sentenced to perpetual confinement in a monastery other than his own, but it seems to have been agreed in advance that this sentence would be revoked almost immediately, because after a few days in the convent of St Medard at Soissons, Abelard returned to St Denis.


Peter Abelard took a sort of malicious pleasure in irritating the monks.


When this historical heresy led to the inevitable persecution, Peter Abelard wrote a letter to the Abbot Adam in which he preferred to the authority of Bede that of Eusebius of Caesarea's Historia Ecclesiastica and St Jerome, according to whom Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, was distinct from Dionysius the Areopagite, bishop of Athens and founder of the abbey; although, in deference to Bede, he suggested that the Areopagite might have been bishop of Corinth.


Peter Abelard initially lodged at St Ayoul of Provins, where the prior was a friend.


Peter Abelard therefore decided to leave and find another refuge, accepting sometime between 1126 and 1128 an invitation to preside over the Abbey of Saint-Gildas-de-Rhuys on the far-off shore of Lower Brittany.


Lack of success at St Gildas made Peter Abelard decide to take up public teaching again.


Peter Abelard's lectures were dominated by logic, at least until 1136, when he produced further drafts of his Theologia in which he analyzed the sources of belief in the Trinity and praised the pagan philosophers of classical antiquity for their virtues and for their discovery by the use of reason of many fundamental aspects of Christian revelation.


When Peter Abelard heard, he transferred Paraclete and its lands to Heloise and her remaining nuns, making her abbess.


Peter Abelard provided the new community with a rule and with a justification of the nun's way of life; in this he emphasized the virtue of literary study.


Peter Abelard provided books of hymns he had composed, and in the early 1130s he and Heloise composed a collection of their own love letters and religious correspondence containing, amongst other notable pieces, Abelard's most famous letter containing his autobiography, Historia Calamitatum.


Sometime before 1140, Peter Abelard published his masterpiece, Ethica or Scito te ipsum, where he analyzes the idea of sin and that actions are not what a man will be judged for but intentions.


Bernard's complaint mainly was that Peter Abelard had applied logic where it is not applicable, and that is illogical.


In so doing, Peter Abelard put himself into the position of the wronged party and forced Bernard to defend himself from the accusation of slander.


When Peter Abelard appeared at the council the next day, he was presented with a list of condemned propositions imputed to him.


Unable to answer to these propositions, Peter Abelard left the assembly, appealed to the Pope, and set off for Rome, hoping that the Pope would be more supportive.


Peter Abelard had stopped there, on his way to Rome, before the papal condemnation had reached France.


Peter managed to arrange a reconciliation with Bernard, to have the sentence of excommunication lifted, and to persuade Innocent that it was enough if Abelard remained under the aegis of Cluny.


Peter Abelard is said to have uttered the last words "I don't know", before expiring.


Peter Abelard died from a fever while suffering from a skin disorder, possibly mange or scurvy.


Peter Abelard was first buried at St Marcel, but his remains were soon carried off secretly to the Paraclete, and given over to the loving care of Heloise, who in time came herself to rest beside them in 1163.


Peter Abelard is considered one of the founders of the secular university and pre-Renaissance secular philosophical thought.


Peter Abelard helped establish the philosophical authority of Aristotle, which became firmly established in the half-century after his death.


Peter Abelard is considered one of the greatest twelfth-century Catholic philosophers, arguing that God and the universe can and should be known via logic as well as via the emotions.


Peter Abelard coined the term "theology" for the religious branch of philosophical tradition.


Peter Abelard is described as "the keenest thinker and boldest theologian of the 12th century" and as the greatest logician of the Middle Ages.


Peter Abelard was concerned with the concept of intent and inner life, developing an elementary theory of cognition in his Tractabus De Intellectibus, and later developing the concept that human beings "speak to God with their thoughts".


Peter Abelard stressed that subjective intention determines the moral value of human action and therefore that the legal consequence of an action is related to the person that commits it and not merely to the action.


Peter Abelard showed humility in acknowledging his errors, and Bernard exercised great benevolence.


Peter Abelard was long known as an important poet and composer.


Peter Abelard composed some celebrated love songs for Heloise that are now lost, and which have not been identified in the anonymous repertoire.


Peter Abelard composed a hymnbook for the religious community that Heloise joined.