Peter Abelard

Peter Abelard

Born: 1079. Died: 1142.


- Universals, while not real in and of themselves, have a linguistic and intellectual reality that derives from their participation in particulars.

- Authority, while essential, is by itself insufficient to an understanding of dogma; reason must understand dogma by analogies from the material world.

- The classics of pre-Christian philosophy are informed by God and contain mystical prefigurations of Christian teaching.

- Seemingly opposed views within the authoritative deposit if the faith can often be reconciled by observing the development of a thought throughout the works of the authors in question, by the establishment of best texts, and by the application of hermeneutical dialectic.

- Intentions, not deeds, count before God; human works are morally indifferent and do nothing to secure either merit or blame.

- The power to bind and loose sins is held only by those discreet and holy bishops who are worthy successors of the apostles.


Peter Abelard is a French scholar. The importance of his works to the history of science lies in the fact that he advocated the use of reason and pointed out the folly of relying on authorities.

In the Sic et Non (Yes and No), Abelard showed the inconsistencies among most respected theological authorities.

Peter Abelard was a magnificent and popular lecturer. By many, he is considered the founder of the University of Paris.

Abelard looked at theology as the "handmaiden" of knowledge - he believed that man could gain a greater knowledge of God through the use of reason.

Major Works of Peter Abelard

- A Treatise on Understanding, 1128
- Dialectica, before 1125
- Dialogue of a Philosopher with a Jew and a Christian, 1136–1139
- Ethica or Scito Te Ipsum, 1136
- The Glosses of Peter Abailard on Porphyry, 1120
- The Letters of Abelard and Helois, 1132-1135
- Logic for Beginners, 1121
- Logic in Response to the Request of Our Comrades, 1124-11255
- Sic et Non, 1136
- The Story of My Misfortunes, 1132-1135
- Theologia, 1140


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