The Letters Between Abelard and Heloise Present the Reader with a Great Insight About the Life of the Scholar. Ultimately the Life of the Scholar Was Fruitless. Peter Abelard Suffered Many Misfortunes for Being a

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  • Topic: Peter Abelard, Philosophy, William of Ockham
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  • Published : February 2, 2011
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The letters between Abelard and Heloise present the reader with a great insight about the life of the scholar. Ultimately the life of the scholar was fruitless. Peter Abelard suffered many misfortunes for being a scholar. These are outlined in his first letter, ‘Historia calamitatum: The Story of His Misfortune,’ along with more written between himself and Heloise. From the offset, Abelard left him home and inheritance to learn philosophy. Prior to this, he had excelled in his studies of dialect (a branch of philosophy), being encouraged by his father. At this time he was heavily influenced by the Latin works of Aristotle consisting of logic. Perhaps Abelard’s evident naivety at a young age and his drive for education led him to Paris and tuition under William of Champeaux; the advocate of the theory of Realism. Abelard was able to master this argument by promoting the theory of Conceptualism. Before this, Realism had been profoundly taught in the early Middle Ages. Its downfall dictated a long and bitter feud between the two men. Already at this early stage in the life of the scholar, from the first letter we can identify that although he became more widely recognised, an early feud with another fellow scholar would precede his growing reputation. After this, the scholar reached the pinnacle of his educated life. This point is mentioned heavily in the letters. He began teaching and soon moved near to the capital Paris. In 1108 on his return, he once again beat his former tutor. He sought to be even more educated and at this point began to learn theology after his success with dialect. He attended lectures held by Anslem of Loan. It is key to mention here that the earlier feud between Abelard and William is relevant here, as William of Champeaux was the disciple of Anslem. Abelard’s intellect was affirmed as he was able to produce lectures on unfamiliar subjects; which were acknowledged by the masters. The letters show how at this point Peter Abelard was now...
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