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Abelard the Scholar

Abelard the Scholar

By Helen Steele

Published Online

Introduction: The twelfth century was a time of great intellectual ferment: at the forefront of this movement was the scholar and philosopher Peter Abelard. Yet posterity has forgotten much of the scholarship of Abelard, preferring to remember him for his exploits with Heloise, as a lover not a great thinker. This does him great disservice, for his work was revolutionary at the time, explosive enough to bring him into conflict with Bernard of Clairvaux, and to see him condemned twice by a cautious and traditional Church. His book, Sic et Non, still stands as an early attempt to combine Church theology and logic, and can be seen as a precursor to the work of theologians such as Aquinas.

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