Talk:Peter Abelard

Page contents not supported in other languages.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Former good article nomineePeter Abelard was a Philosophy and religion good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There may be suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
June 2, 2006Good article nomineeNot listed


Frankly, I don't see the point of pasting in stuff from the 1911 encyclopedia. You find it all over Wikipedia and some of it is really bad. In any case, it's all available on the web already so what's the point of reproducing it here? BevRowe 18:26 Apr 3, 2003 (UTC)

- 2/4/2021 - Removed the 1911 reference and updated it with a contemporary Brittanica reference complete with quote written by an Abelardian scholar. This is correct -- the 1911 reference is not necessary or particularly good. There's no need to refer to that one specifically. - StarTigerJLN — Preceding unsigned comment added by StarTigerJLN (talkcontribs) 00:49, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I agree with the last message. What is the point of 1911 nonsense? There is a word "Quasijocando" in the text that I haven't a clue what it means. The only references (170, Google, duplicates) on the web are ... you guessed it ... Wikipedia and duplicates.

Methinks there is no such word: Quasijocando.

Another reason the copy should be revisited.

I assume that is Latin for "facetiously" or "kind of jokingly" (or just as it says, "quasi-jokingly"). Probably just the 1911 EB trying to sound erudite. I've never seen that word either, and I guess it doesn't matter now since it is no longer in the text, but I thought I would mention it anyway. Adam Bishop 05:47, 3 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
_ _ There are EB-related hits re Abelard on "quasi jocando", a two-word phrase, so the other may be a scanning error.
_ _ "Quasi" is indeed a Latin word. As to "jocando", tho Pope used it in a Latin phrase, it doesn't look Latin to me -- but perhaps only bcz J was simply a version of I, until the 16th century.
_ _ On the other hand, "Quasi" passed into Italian unchanged, and "jocando" is (i think rarely) used as if it were Italian, in titling music or annotating musical scoring.
_ _ If you were British and in upper-class style in the generation that was still running everything in 1911, Italian opera was part of your life-blood, so "trying to sound erudite" is IMO off the mark.
--Jerzyt 08:39, 14 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
jocando and iocando are the same word in Latin, that's just an orthographical thing. I guess it would make more sense if it was two words, yeah. Adam Bishop 21:27, 26 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is an argument for ignorance. The web is full of it, and it's getting worse all the time. You won't find any decent dictionaries or textbooks online. I don't see how anybody can have any problems understanding "quasijocando" unless they don't understand "quasi", "jocoso", or "-ando", in which case, are they likely to comprehend a thing about Abelard? Are Wikipedians prohibited from a bit of erudition, and must their attitudes be imposed upon everybody else? Come on! And what the heck is meant by "1911 nonsense"? Do you actually believe you'd find better information in modern encyclopedias, now that theology has made great strides in understanding Abelard? Scholarship wasn't born yesterday. Abelard was a great theologian, and there's nothing here of any value as far as theology goes. Simple links to theological terms are counter-productive. They lead to broader treatments of concepts, not Abelard's contributions. Unfree (talk) 05:22, 17 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Needs Complete Rewrite[edit]

Earlier comment: This entire article should be re-written from the ground up by someone who knows Abelard's works. I would suggest that an aspiring philosophy student take up this task. Wikipedians all over would be in your debt. --BenjaminHare 22:39, 2005 May 10 (UTC)

A lot of this article is still unsourced or out of the Britannica. There's an awful lot of romanticization of Abelard and Heloise's relationship and judgments of the meaning of their letters. It's not good scholarship and still needs a rewrite.
Who comes to Abelard for philosophy? This is no job for a philosopher, but a theologian, preferably one who sympathizes with Abelard or can accurately present his arguments without his own bias distorting them. Unfree (talk) 05:29, 17 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is nonsense -- Abelard was a leading philosopher of the Middle Ages and a philosopher before he was a theologian. His theology is incidental in comparison to his contributions to philosophy and universals. He established secular university in France and is the single greatest logician pre 14th century. He only had arguments and problems with the church. - A philososopher — Preceding unsigned comment added by StarTigerJLN (talkcontribs) 20:53, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

STARTIGERJLN: I'm a scholar of Abelard and Heloise and a philosophy PhD student (please contact me if you have questions). I am attempting a re-write of Abelard, but am focusing on Heloise at the moment as her page is full of sexist nonsense and people keep removing my discussion of her scholarship and influence on Abelard, which was critical to his development towards theology and ethics. (Jennifer Nielsen, StarTigerJLN, — Preceding unsigned comment added by StarTigerJLN (talkcontribs) 3 February 2021 (UTC)

Credentialism has no place on Wikipedia and leads nowhere. Just for the record I am also a PhD student in philosophical logic. --Omnipaedista (talk) 13:40, 9 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I will plan on doing so[edit]

I am a student in philosophy, currently taking a course in ancient and medieval philosophy. I plan on doing a research paper on Abelard's nominalism. Come winter break I plan on writing up a section on Abelard's nominalism (or "irrealism"). --11/29/05 (10:54 MTN)

Good luck. Unfree (talk) 05:29, 17 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Was he a composer, as List of uncategorized composers#A alleges? If his compositions are indeed insufficiently notable for the bio, surely he must be expunged from composer lists.
--Jerzyt 08:51, 14 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's nonsense. Mention of him as a composer belongs in the bio, and who gets into lists is up to consensus opinion. My personal opinion is that I'd want to find his name on the list, at least a comprehensive one, if not in several categories, because I'm interested in early music. Frankly, I'd be appalled if anybody disagreed. But a theologian's life work is theology, and whether his music compositions are "notable for the bio" is irrelevant. Today, anybody can compose music, but it wasn't always so. Whatever music from his time can be discovered is of great import. Remember the classic definition of "classic"? It means "good by consensus, and having survived the test of time". Well, Abelard's music existed long before the advent of "classical" music. It doesn't even have to be "good", by anybody's standard, to be noteworthy. What you suggest is tantamount to expunging "Sumer is icumen in" from the most exhaustive list of songs because it's not very professional, in your opinion. If there's an ancient "example of music" extant (whatever that means), or lyrics, or evidence that there once was such a thing, and we know who composed it, he's its composer, and considerations of what he did for a living, whether there are more, or whether it's "worthy" are out of order. People will go to that list looking for the name they have in mind, knowing or suspecting only that he composed something. Whether he was truly "a composer" by some conventional standard doesn't apply. Ask ASCAP what "composer" means. They'll explain the concept more clearly than I can, invite you to join, and ask whether you expect to start beginning sometime soon, or later, and whether you'll be an author and publisher, as well. Tell them seventeen full-time freelance occupations might impinge upon your day and night jobs, and your significant friend is cute, young, tender, and very importunate, she doesn't like convents, and her name is Heloise. ;) Unfree (talk) 06:47, 17 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Eternal Sunshine[edit]

Could there be a reference to Alexander Pope's poem, "Heloise and Abelard" in the page...

"How happy is the blameless Vestal's lot! / The world forgetting, by the world forgot. / Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! / Each pray'r accepted and each wish resign'd."

...which serves as the inspiration for the movie of the same name.

--Chinmay, March 22, 2006

Neither fish nor fowl[edit]

This page has been moved to Peter Abélard, which seems to be a neologistic back-formation from the English/German Peter Abelard. Wikipedia + mirrors are the only hit of this spelling in the first four pages of Google hits. I propose that this page be moved back to Pierre Abélard (the French name), or to the English version Peter Abelard (with a slight preference for the latter, as it has been established in English for some centuries). For a convoluted discussion of this, see User talk:JackyR#That bloke what had it off with Eloise. Otherwise, take it on its merits... JackyR 22:45, 27 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Redirect statuses & history merges[edit]

OK, here's what posterity will see (other than later changes:

  1. The non-redirect revision from PeterAbelard and the two of them from Peter Abelard merged in with the 160-ish later revisions of Peter Abélard as the history of Peter Abelard.
  2. All the redirect revisions of PeterAbelard as they are now (actually, having disappeared temporarily but been restored).
  3. Peter Abélard will be a fresh move-tool-created rdr.

(If you like laws, sausages, or fully consolidated WP histories, don't watch them being made. In this case, if you don't look at the deletion logs, you won't see the deletions and undeletions required.)
--Jerzyt 16:56, 5 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The merge-&-move involves 13 steps, but the killer one is the wait for the completion of the undeletion that completes the history merge. There hasn't been much activity on the article lately (7 edits in about 9 weeks, so i'm going to go ahead now rather than wait for the quiet hours. If you find the article gone, please be patient: it should be missing less than a half hour, and i think the delays have gotten shorter in recent months.
--Jerzyt 20:32, 5 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
_ _ In the event, the undeletion was complete in under four minutes, thanks no doubt to further work by our invaluable developers.
_ _ On reflection, i undeleted the 5 rdr-versions of Peter Abelard (see below in this section) before rather than after moving Peter Abélard there, with the result that the rdrs appear as old revisions (instead of being clobbered when i did the move). Their unnatural occurence interspersed with revisions of the article offers some confusion potential (e.g., they look like, but are not evidence of unrepaired cut-and-paste moves). But on the positive size, they do document the sometimes confusing name changes, which were not reflected in the history when the first 4 of the 5 moves were done. Note that they are all former revisions of Peter Abelard, and not (generally? ever?) of the article, but they should reasonably closely track the changes of the article's title, since each was done to bypass an rdr that recently had become part of a dbl rdr. Feedback welcome; remediation is practical if there's a consensus i blew it.
--Jerzyt 21:47, 5 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Peter Abelard rdrs:
    • 08:04, 14 November 2005 Jerzy (==> #REDIRECT Peter Abélard)
    • 09:51, 22 April 2004 Nixdorf m (corrected name)
    • 11:52, 7 July 2002 Tarquin
    • 16:51, 21 June 2002 The Epopt (link)
    • 15:51, 25 February 2002 Conversion script m (Automated conversion)

GA Failing[edit]

Fails WP:LEAD, has random references in the middle of the text, references need to be connected in the text (please see WP:CITE.) Highway Rainbow Sneakers 15:40, 2 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Could you state that more plainly? Unfree (talk) 08:46, 17 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Recent scholarship[edit]

I'm not particularly knowledgeable on Abelard myself, but I do know that there has been some recent scholarship that has made modern philosophers view him as a more significant philosopher than he had previously been considered. In particular, some of his works on logic were first published in the 20th century, and there is now ongoing work on examining them. It may be worth covering both those works and their new philosophical reception, which the article, based mainly on EB1911, currently doesn't mention at all. For an overview, see: John Marenbon, "The rediscovery of Peter Abelard's philosophy", Journal of the History of Philosophy 44(3), 2006 (abstract here). --Delirium 17:30, 16 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have no objection, except to say that his reputation is as a theologian. That should be the highest priority. Unfree (talk) 08:49, 17 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree[edit]

As a Theology student currently doing research on the 1140 Sens Heresy trial, I have never come across this document cited under "Written Works" ""Time Jesum Non Riventum", translated by Betty Radice, c. 1970, this is the superbly accurate transcript of Abelard's document, the one that saw him condemned in 1140 at the Council of Sens for heresy. He was condemned on the basis of other well-known published works such as his "Ethica" and "Theologia" (and wrongly, in my opinion, but that's another issue). I propose to delete that reference unless someone can give a bit more detail about where it can be found. PJO'M 17:42, 28 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, please delete. -- Stbalbach 16:51, 30 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please come back soon, PJO'M. Unfree (talk) 07:22, 17 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Constant Mews[edit]

I have corrected the reference to Constant Mews. Whilst he is an academic at an Australian university, he is in fact British (his bio). On a less trivial point, I have supplied the requested citation for his work on the Lost Love Letters.PJO'M 18:48, 5 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If only Constant Mews could be recruited to engage in our humble project! Someday, maybe he'll hear of us and abandon his reticence. Unfree (talk) 08:55, 17 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


In the article is the statement that "The name Abaelardus (also written Abailardus, Abaielardus, and in many other ways) is said to be a corruption of Habélardus, substituted by Abélard himself for a nickname ('Bajolardus') given him when a student." Can we have a citation for this please?

Also, if "Bajolardus" was his nickname, what does it even mean? It's not French and seems a rather odd name. —Lowellian (reply) 02:05, 12 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, apparently there's no telling what it meant - this page (, an extract from the New International Encyclopedia (1920), says that "his name is commonly given in the French form, Abélard or Abailard; in Latin, Abailardus or Bajolardus. But these are epithets of uncertain meaning, the latter form perhaps from bajulus, ‘teacher,’ the former from abeille, ‘a bee.’" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:16, 19 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
He must have had a touch of beriberi. ;) (bajo, lard) Unfree (talk) 09:01, 17 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Standard Usage of Name[edit]

I suggest that the spelling of Abelard be "Abelard" without an accent mark. The article has Abelard both with and without an accent mark. Since this is an English site, and Abelard's name has no accent in the Latin, and the standard academic usage is without the accent, we ought to abide by that usage. DoNNNald 16:22, 20 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed and done. What about Heloise? Mak (talk) 18:15, 20 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Heloise should probably be spelled without accents too. In Clanchy's book, he does not use accents. DoNNNald 19:16, 20 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Was Heloise whipped by Abelard for not doing homework?[edit]

I am sure most people are more interested in the romance than the philosophy. Is it true that Heloise fell in love with Abelard, after he, acting as her tutor, whipped her naked bottom when her work was not up to scratch? This would be typically French. But if it DID happen, it should certainly have a section devoted to it here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

No it is not true. It is also nonsense. I hope you were not serious. Your comment will be deleted along with my comment in five days, unless reason is given not to delete. DoNNNald 02:26, 12 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There really isn't much reason not to delete that rather amusing comment, but I suppose it might just be semi-inspired by a passage in Historia Calamitatum 6, which says the following about Fulbert: "[...] he entrusted her wholly to my guidance, begging me to give her instruction whensoever I might be free from the duties of my school, no matter whether by day or by night, and to punish her sternly if ever I should find her negligent of her tasks. In all this the man's simplicity was nothing short of astounding to me; I should not have been more smitten with wonder if he had entrusted a tender lamb to the care of a ravenous wolf. When he had thus given her into my charge, not alone to be taught but even to be disciplined, what had he done save to give free scope to my desires, and to offer me every opportunity, even if I had not sought it, to bend her to my will with threats and blows if I failed to do so with caresses?" But Abelard certainly doesn't ever imply that he had to go that way. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:08, 19 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(Comment deleted by Lizzard (talk) 06:11, 4 May 2008 (UTC)) Notthere (talk) 04:29, 1 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's not amusing anymore when it descends into someone's soft core birching fetish. I'm deleting the above comment.--Lizzard (talk) 06:11, 4 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

[Notthere's abovementioned deleted paragraph:] Ah, but read a little further... He does indeed punish her in exactly that way. Abelard's Historia Calamamitum are almost without peer for their unembroidered honesty, but he is discrete about his role as schoolmaster to the young Heloise. It is obvious from his narrative though, that the two were falling passionately in love, and that love talk, and indeed love making had well nigh totally replaced Latin declensions during their time together, leading to a dearth of noise from within the classroom that those without might have found suspicious. Abelard was moved, according to his own account, to provide the sound effects that traditionally accompany such teaching—the sounds of corporal punishment administered to an inattentive or negligent student. Such punishment was considered an essential component of an education of any quality at all, and it was the universal practice to use a whip or birch on the student's bare bottom. Abelard had been exhorted by Heloise's father not to grant her any special dispensation in this regard on account of her gender, but it is apparent from his description that Abelard did not apply the switch or stick, but only 'gentle blows' which refers to slapping by the open hand. The two hoped that the characteristic sounds of a bare bottom being slapped, and Heloise's attendant cries would allay any suspicion that Fulbert might have had about what was going on inside the classroom. The result was of course, that Heloise came to love him even more intensely, finding the pain to be ‘surpassing the sweetness of all ointments’. Will post full citations later, and add a line to clarify this matter in the article, which has no record of it. Notthere (talk) 06:17, 9 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Okay, I'll call an admin on this for arbitration rather than deleting this again. I treated it as I would spam or vandalism. I consider it vandalism of the article to put soft core fetish porn on the talk page. If you want birching go read some Swinburne. There is plenty there!--Lizzard (talk) 07:51, 11 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Lizzard, you did more harm then good by deleting Notthere's first comment, as now this has become a personal issue between you two rather than a matter of fact; nor is your standard for what is or is not "soft core fetish porn" universally valid, and certainly not what "vandalism" is supposed to mean. Notthere, while I think this is interesting and would like it be mentioned at least on the Talk page, if not the main article itself, we could do without your needless extemporising about hairy-bodied harridans. The first paragraph goes -- if you want to reïnsert it, do it in the talk pages of second wave feminism, not here (and be modded for being a troll). Please do add the promised citation for what's left behind.Orbis 3 (talk) 15:37, 27 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Look, please forgive my confusion here but are you the long-promised Solomon come to judgement as was whistled for by the preternaturally sensitive Lizzie (See above)? I have ventured to look at your user box, and found very little there except the confident if puzzling commitment: “This user communicates exclusively via userboxes.” and true to your word, there is nothing else there at all, and nothing at all in your discussion box. But you speak with authority, even if I discern no badge of it. I doubt if Lizzie will be happy with your verdict, is such it is, or your enthusiastic recommendation that I interpolate similar material in the Abelard article itself. It’s passing strange, but who am I but a simple toiler in the fecund if febrile fields of WP?

I should add that I did not intend to insult Lizzie nor her many supporters who have told me in no uncertain terms that I have been “reported”. My references to hairy bodies and so on was meant in the spirit of good-natured if slightly boisterous badinage, and of course this was immediately deemed to be “hate speech”. Lizzie, you know if you call every mischievous remark “hate speech” it will simply devalue the currency of the word. And your references to "birching" are unwarranted. I thought the main point of my article was that Abelard spared her the stick. Just thought of this. If Lizzard is going to go around inspecting WP for inappropriate material, then maybe she should be known as (chuckle…chuckle) MONITOR LIZZARD!!! (Nyuk, nyuk)…Rolls around ground laughing…. Notthere (talk) 03:16, 14 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

02/04/2021 - I find this all amusing, but no, Heloise fell in love with Abelard probably some time before he became her tutor based on the contents of the earlier set of letters as presented by Constant Mews. StarTigerJLN (talk) 01:15, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Physical Appearance[edit]

I removed the line which said that Heloise was beautiful. It is unsourced, unscholarly, and unnecessary. Why is it that in our society, whenever we talk about an important woman in history, we have to add unsourced nonsense about her appearance? Moreover, Clanchy's 1997 biography of Abelard says:

"A goddess of letters had no need to be as beautiful as Venus, and Abelard says no more about Heloise's appearance than that she was 'not ugly in the face'."

(from Clanchy's 1997 biography of Abelard, p. 58) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Margavriel (talkcontribs) 00:49, 10 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I Agree. In Henry Adams Bellows' translation, he says:

"Of no mean beauty, she stood out above all by reason of her abundant knowledge of letters." (CH6,page16) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bobg3 (talkcontribs) 21:08, 19 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why agree, and cite evidence to the contrary? At least cite evidence in favor. "Of no mean beauty" means "of extraordinary beauty"; it only undermines your position. Unfree (talk) 07:32, 17 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perhaps "the legend" (whatever that means) is important enough to mention. I've always heard that that was a crucial part of "the legend" (the story passed down through the ages) without quite investigating what was meant, or at least that she was "of legendary beauty", which I assume actually does mean beauty, whether in a legend, in legend generally, or "of renown"; rather than "subject to doubt" (because "legend" implies or means untrustworthy), which I very strongly doubt to be what was intended, but I'm speaking from experience in casual conversation. I've never read anything authoritative on the subject, nor will there ever be any authority, but I've discussed it with scholars, and never came across anything (before 1997) to call it into question. I'm sure we'd all agree, if we could see her now, that she was horrid, but that was then, and this is now. Tastes and conventions change. Abelard's opinion, what he fails to confirm (or to deny), isn't the issue. If people didn't think she was, why was beautiful ever mentioned? Ugliness would be more noteworthy, making a better story, and unexceptional appearance wouldn't be noteworthy at all. Should we presume, because everybody said she was beautiful, but that was a long time ago, and one very pious man of the cloth who was doing something rather unconventional (to say the least) by wooing a much younger person, neglected on paper to shout it to the heavens, that they all were simply wrong, not as smart or questioning as us third millennarians? The only evidence we have is in one direction, namely that beauty is part of the history of Abelard and Heloise, whether true (in whose opinion?) or false. Abelard had no reason to confirm it, and abundant reason to deny it, but didn't deny it. We have absolutely no reason, after so many centuries, to alter the story, because it doesn't meet modern "standards of verifiability"! This was a love affair that happened long before Gutenberg, long before the invention of "history" as we know it, not to mention beauty pageants and photography. But it is history, such as we have received it. Let him who knows the story-tellers' standards cast the first stone. Unfree (talk) 08:38, 17 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Composer project review[edit]

I've reviewed this article as part of the Composers project review of its B-class articles. It is B class, but the biographical content could use more mention of his musical education, etc. See my detailed review on the comments page. Magic♪piano 15:08, 20 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is basically no evidence of how Abelard became trained as a musician. Likely it was part of his general training in the quadrivium, which was the standard education of the time. StarTigerJLN (talk) 01:20, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Comparing the section of this article concerning Abelard's debate with Bernard of Clairvaux with the article on Bernard himself, it appears that either this or the other article is suffering from some bias. I suppose it could always be both? Either Bernard was an eloquent defender of the faith, or personally out to get Abelard and crush rational inquiry. Hmmm. Maybe someone with a little more book learnin' in this area ought to look into it? (talk) 01:51, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It sounds not only plausible, but predictable. Be prepared! Unfree (talk) 09:42, 17 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Abelard's name was cleared of heresy. It's difficult to see whether Bernard was "right" since Abelard's prosecution and his clearing were both done mostly on political basis. Heloise was able to clear his name via an intercession of a Pope once she had reached nearly bishop status in the church (nullius) herself and it was more politically appealing to appease her. StarTigerJLN (talk) 01:19, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Why did Abelard's castration "effectively end his career"? I think this needs to be clarified. Tsuguya (talk) 17:44, 26 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed. That is not only quite ambiguous, but could use some background on the status of castrati in the church. Just above, "career" is used to refer to Abelard's career in theology, but here, I suspect, it might be used to refer to his career of lovemaking. The Old Testament is very strict on the subject, which I'm sure carried over into Abelard's day. Does it refer to his career in the Church, and from what did it disqualify him? The priesthood? A priest who is celibate and impotent, the argument might have gone, has a lower libido, and struggles (and needs) less to contend with temptation, nor can he fully understand the temptations of his celibate, but fertile, peers and laity, whether married or not. Sex outside of marriage must surely have been sinful, and not to suffer temptation like unmarried men might very well have disqualified him from progress, if not continuation in his career as a monk, priest, abbot, bishop, theologian, cardinal, etc. It may have disqualified him from marriage, too, but that's not what's meant here. It may have been suspected that castrati might turn to homosexual practices among their fellow male celibates, and the Church may very well have been over-zealous to avoid such. Unfree (talk) 09:37, 17 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Priests and especially popes were considered vicars of Christ and needed to be seen as in tact men to fulfill that obligation. Jesus was fully man and fully God, and he had a penis and scrotum. Losing either of these relegates Abelard to the class of almost a woman. StarTigerJLN (talk) 01:23, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The link to the article on "Peripatetics" is very misleading. Even if that article gave a definition of the word elsewhere, it would continue to mislead as long as the article opens talking about Greeks of long ago. Peripatetic means wandering around far and wide, generally on foot. Abelard joined an important phenomenon in France in his day, that of the wanderers, referred to today as variously as then, when bards were polyglots. A link to something about that might be useful, but at this point in the article, it ought to link to a very brief explanation of what peripatetic means, for the sake of those who might not be familiar with it in their everyday speech. Unfree (talk) 10:06, 17 December 2009

Abelard referred to himself as a peripatetic. StarTigerJLN (talk) 01:23, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Blatant copyright infringement[edit]

This article is lifted almost from whole cloth from the Encyclopedia Brittanica. I've provided a reference using Google's book search. I examined the history, and unfortunately this infringement dates back to the original article. I'm of the opinion the whole thing needs to be rewritten. (talk) 18:29, 30 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

At the foot of the references is the statement: "Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. {{cite encyclopedia}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)" JohnCD (talk) 18:41, 30 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My fault, sorry for the interruption. (talk) 18:56, 30 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Great cathedral school" at Notre Dame ??[edit]

The paragraph "Rise to Fame" begins by saying Abelard went to the "great cathedral school" at Notre Dame, and in the footnote admits that Notre Dame didn't exist yet. It seems misleading to say he went to a "great cathedral school" when it was likely a wooden hut or a stone house. Princetoniac (talk) 16:45, 28 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Illustrations to article[edit]

Is there any way we can alter the illustration that go with this article? The lead pic s wrong on so many levels that it really only illustrates a continuing interest in Abelard and Heloise; the architecture is wrong, the clothing bizarre (Fulbert is dressed, for some reason, as Dominican friar)... While we don't, I think, have a contemporary picture to use, the later mediaeval picture of the pair as doctor and nun is at least more neutral,imho - and could be cropped to be just Abelard, maybe? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:31, 12 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is extremely common for illustrations of medieval characters -- they are almost always represented inaccurately according to whatever is fashionable at the time of the painting. This issue is rampant in medieval illustration, is best to point it out in a caption. StarTigerJLN (talk) 09:18, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Revealing Pseudo-Dionysius[edit]

The article Pseudo-Dionysius says "The great Abbey of Saint-Denis just north of Paris claimed to have the relics of Dionysius. Around 1121, Pierre Abélard, a Benedictine monk at Saint Denis Basilica, turned his attention to the story of their patron saint, and disentangled the three different Dionysiuses. The monks were offended at the apparent demotion of Saint Denis, and Abélard did not remain long at Saint Denis."

This sounds a lot more "fun" than the way it is currently worded here. I guess the question is, did Abelard make short work of disentangling the three saints or not? Or was he simply trying to annoy? Doesn't seem to have a specific citation in PD. Student7 (talk) 01:46, 14 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's a common story -- see Clanchy and Mews biographies of Abelard. StarTigerJLN (talk) 09:19, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


If Heloise and him were secretly married, then could they become a monk and a nun? They might have had the marriage annulled on the grounds of inability to consummate, but is there any record of this? Does the RC church generally allow secret marriages? It might have been some sort of irregular folk marriage. PatGallacher (talk) 13:03, 21 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi.. From what I know, married couples can enter religious life with some requisites, and of course no consummation anymore; stories about some saints tell about that. Even in some Eastern Catholic traditions, just like other Eastern traditions, the man can be ordained as a priest. Ign christian (talk) 10:42, 19 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to one external link on Peter Abelard. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true to let others know.

☒N An editor has determined that the edit contains an error somewhere. Please follow the instructions below and mark the |checked= to true

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 12:31, 26 February 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Peter Abelard/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Comment(s)Press [show] to view →
==Composers Project Assessment of Peter Abelard: 2008-11-20==

This is an assessment of article Peter Abelard by a member of the Composers project, according to its assessment criteria. This review was done by Magicpiano.

If an article is well-cited, the reviewer is assuming that the article reflects reasonably current scholarship, and deficiencies in the historical record that are documented in a particular area will be appropriately scored. If insufficient inline citations are present, the reviewer will assume that deficiencies in that area may be cured, and that area may be scored down.

Adherence to overall Wikipedia standards (WP:MOS, WP:WIAGA, WP:WIAFA) are the reviewer's opinion, and are not a substitute for the Wikipedia's processes for awarding Good Article or Featured Article status.

NOTE: This article appears to still be primarily EB1911 text. (If not, I apologize to the editors who've been working on it.) As a result, the article is likely to be lacking in recent scholarship, which will probably lower the rating.

===Origins/family background/studies=== Does the article reflect what is known about the composer's background and childhood? If s/he received musical training as a child, who from, is the experience and nature of the early teachers' influences described?

  • Basic childhood bio OK. Presumably little was known specifically about his early musical education in 1911. Now?

===Early career=== Does the article indicate when s/he started composing, discuss early style, success/failure? Are other pedagogic and personal influences from this time on his/her music discussed?

  • Basic early career bio OK. Presumably little was known specifically about his early musical education in 1911. Now?

===Mature career=== Does the article discuss his/her adult life and composition history? Are other pedagogic and personal influences from this time on his/her music discussed?

  • Basic adult life bio OK. Presumably little was known specifically about his musical career in 1911. Now?

===List(s) of works=== Are lists of the composer's works in WP, linked from this article? If there are special catalogs (e.g. Köchel for Mozart, Hoboken for Haydn), are they used? If the composer has written more than 20-30 works, any exhaustive listing should be placed in a separate article.

  • The list given is presumed to be complete. A limited discography of recordings of his music would be nice, if recordings are available.

===Critical appreciation=== Does the article discuss his/her style, reception by critics and the public (both during his/her life, and over time)?

  • OK. Limited discussion and appreciation are given.

===Illustrations and sound clips=== Does the article contain images of its subject, birthplace, gravesite or other memorials, important residences, manuscript pages, museums, etc? Does it contain samples of the composer's work (as composer and/or performer, if appropriate)? (Note that since many 20th-century works are copyrighted, it may not be possible to acquire more than brief fair use samples of those works, but efforts should be made to do so.) If an article is of high enough quality, do its images and media comply with image use policy and non-free content policy? (Adherence to these is needed for Good Article or Featured Article consideration, and is apparently a common reason for nominations being quick-failed.)

  • OK, although more images further down in the article would help. Audio of his music would also be nice.

===References, sources and bibliography=== Does the article contain a suitable number of references? Does it contain sufficient inline citations? (For an article to pass Good Article nomination, every paragraph possibly excepting those in the lead, and every direct quotation, should have at least one footnote.) If appropriate, does it include Further Reading or Bibliography beyond the cited references?

  • Article has good reference list, but is poorly inline-cited (probably due to EB1911 content).

===Structure and compliance with WP:MOS=== Does the article comply with Wikipedia style and layout guidelines, especially WP:MOS, WP:LEAD, WP:LAYOUT, and possibly WP:SIZE? (Article length is not generally significant, although Featured Articles Candidates may be questioned for excessive length.)

  • Lead is short. Footer sections are not per WP:LAYOUT.

===Things that may be necessary to pass a Good Article review===

  • Article requires more inline citations (WP:CITE)
  • Article lead needs work (WP:LEAD)
  • Article footer material needs organization (WP:LAYOUT)
  • Article needs (more) images and/or other media (MOS:IMAGE)
  • Article text formatting needs work (footnote at end of "Rise to fame")

===Summary=== This article appears to be largely an extract from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica. As such, it is reasonably well-written, but suffers from problems that plague these articles in Wikipedia:

  • virtually impossible to edit without rewriting, as the prose style is hard to match
  • lacking inline citations, since the EB1911 material is not referenced
  • may not contain up-to-date scholarship

While clearly work has been done to this article to improve its reference list, it's not always clear how those references have been used to improve the article, making it difficult to judge how up-to-date the article content really is.

This review is generally focused on musical content of a composer's biography. This article is deficient on the biographical aspects, and limited in the critical aspects. The critical aspects (the content of the Music section) are cited; the lack of citations in the biographic portions is problematic; see above.

I give the article a B rating as a Composer biography, but it feels shaky. Improving the number of recent citations in the bio would contribute to improving that; however, if the text is really still mostly EB1911, doing that implies a lot of rewrite.

-- Magic♪piano 15:03, 20 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Last edited at 13:29, 11 December 2008 (UTC). Substituted at 02:41, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

stop removing discussions of Abelard's health[edit]

His health is a critical aspect of his life and removing discussion could amount to able-ism. - Scholar of Abelard and Heloise

Please sign your comments and see WP:BRD. --Omnipaedista (talk) 09:15, 4 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Stop removing my well-cited additions and edits. I'm an expert on Abelard and Heloise and a graduate student in philosophy. You can help organize my work, but removing it -- it's vandalism. -StarTigerJLN

Please see WP:V. Do you have citations to reliable sources (WP:RS, WP:VERIFY) to support this? If not it is original research (WP:NOR). --Omnipaedista (talk) 18:57, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I added some citations to support the two collapses, which are well documented in Abelardian scholarship. I quoted a contemporary of Abelard about the second collapse, and Abelard about the first collapse, with references. StarTigerJLN (talk) 00:52, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

StarTigerJLN, I agree with Omnipaedista that original research is an issue. For example, from one edit:

Abelard suffered two nervous collapses, once around 1104-5, cited as related to the stresses of too much study, and once at the Council of Sen, where he was accused of heresy and was unable to speak.

No source provided.

Mental health was understood somewhat differently in 12th century France (psychology had not yet been created as a science) and so no diagnosis was applied to Abelard at the time. His tendencies towards self acclaim, grandiosity, paranoia and shame are suggestive of possible narcissism or untreaeted manic depression bipolar disorder. <ref> Pies, Ronald. How to Get Rid of Narcissism Overnight. url=</ref>

This source only supports that Abelard "might fit the category" of narcissist. It does not support any of the rest of the section. Please read the policy on original research. Schazjmd (talk) 22:49, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I can cite the sources on his health and have provided some citations. I'll fix this section -- the nervous collapses are well known and NOT original research. The enclosed scholars cited at end of last sentence do support current understanding of Abelard as "manic", as like other "manic celebrities" today, and as used as an example narcissist in medical literature. Mania is a condition unique to manic depressive (aka bipolar) disorder. I am adding an additional reference to Abelard being referred to as manic in the literature. — Preceding unsigned comment added by StarTigerJLN (talkcontribs)

StarTigerJLN, sure, it may not be original research, but here citations are needed to demonstrate that it is not original research. We have a convention here that must be followed. Also, it is customary here to sign one's posts. This is done automatically by inserting four tildes in a row. There's a button for it on the page for making comments on the Talk page. Search "Sign your posts on talk pages". You'll find it for sure. Teishin (talk) 01:51, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks User:Teishin for your explaining how to sign. I added additional references and appreciate your contributions. I am sorry I was very frustrated about the manual reverts on the Heloise page in particular and then this one after putting in long hours. You are of course right that the health section needed further citation. Working to add additionals. StarTigerJLN (talk) 04:16, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Contemporary Re-write in progress[edit]

Attempting to bring up to "good article" status. Stop undoing revisions -- the page is in need of a lot of help and I'm establishing a contemporary rewrite with contemporary scholarship cited. Jennifer Nielsen, KU — Preceding unsigned comment added by StarTigerJLN (talkcontribs) 21:04, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Greek language project user Omnipaedista, who is a hobbyist of medieval scholarship, continues to revert the page after extensive cited modifications, disregarding the stated need for a student of philosophy to fix the Abelard and Heloise pages (see the Peter Abelard page, talk section). — Preceding unsigned comment added by StarTigerJLN (talkcontribs)

Please consider that everyone here is a volunteer. We're all doing what we think is best, and because of the immense complexity of the project, conflict is going to happen. It is important for the functioning of the project to try to keep this impersonal and to avoid terminology that can be viewed as derogatory towards those who are volunteer contributors. Teishin (talk) 01:02, 7 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Further, many of the recently-added citations are without page numbers, so verification would consist of reading the entire books cited to try to locate the supposed mentions of the claimed facts. This really does need to be improved, and quickly, or a mass revert will be the necessary outcome. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:51, 9 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

English Pronunciation vs French[edit]

Isn't it important to feature the French pronunciation of his name? He is Breton (French) not British — Preceding unsigned comment added by StarTigerJLN (talkcontribs) 21:06, 9 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Cross-Editing "Cultural References" with Heloise (cross-posting at Heloise talk page)[edit]

It's important generally speaking to cross-edit most references to Abelard with the cultural references on the Heloise page, since most references to one in pop culture are relevant to the other. This will help keep both pages up to date and improve the flagged section at Abelard as well, especially since Heloise's references section was generally speaking more tidy and kept up. StarTigerJLN (talk) 21:31, 6 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Notable Works[edit]

Any particular reason "Sic et Non" is singled out as his notable work? It's certainly the most famous now, but at the time, Dialectica or Ethica were more widely read


Shouldn't the name be "Pierre Abélard"? --Ransouk (talk) 09:35, 18 April 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

empiricism or rationalism?[edit]

The claim made that he is a chief forerunner of modern empiricism seems flawed, even if there is a source for that claim. We could see him as being a rationalist, in that he did not blindly accept what the Church claimed to be truth. He may just be the forerunner of rationalism! Stjohn1970 (talk) 09:29, 29 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]