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Abelard, Pierre.

Abelard, Pierre

(1079 - 1142) French scholastic philosopher and theologian Ab elard studied under Roscellinus (b 1050), exponent of extreme nominalism, then under William of Champeaux (1070 - 1121), supporter of realism. In this controversy of medieval theology, Abelard evolved a middle position called conceptualism, holding that both particular objects and universal concepts are real. However, he angered the clergy, who emphasized faith rather than dialectic argument and proof, with his rationalistic approach to Church dogma, especially the dogma of the Trinity. Thus Saint Bernard of Clairvaux persecuted him as a heretic, and Abelard died on his way to Rome to appeal to the Pope against a condemnation on this charge. Nevertheless, Ab elard had been extremely popular as a lecturer; when he had to leave Notre Dame, his students followed him to various monasteries. His influence and his writings, such as Sic et non, increased the popularity of Aristotelian logic over that of Platonic theory.

His popular fame, however, resulted from his tragic love affair with Heloise. Moved by his Historia calamitatum (c1134), Heloise wrote to him, and they exchanged their famous letters of love and suffering, including Ab elard's advice on how she should conduct the convent he had turned over to her in 1129.

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Publication:Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia, 3rd ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1987
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