[Philosophers]


Heloise and AbelardHeloise


Disciple and Correspondent to Peter Abelard

ca1101-1164


Heloise was a highly educated young woman when her legendary correspondence with the philosopher Peter Abelard began. Peter the Venerable stated, upon the occasion of Abelard's death, that Heloise was a woman "wholly devoted to philosophy in the true sense," who "left logic for the Gospel, Plato for Christ and the academy for the cloister."

Heloise demonstrated in her letters that she was well versed in the argument skills of the logicians. She probably partook in many of the debates on her lover's philosophy, namely his questions of nominalism versus realism.

She left no other published materials besides her letters to Abelard. Heloise was probably educated by Fulbert, her uncle, in Paris. By the age of 18 she was Abelard's student. Following Abelard's castration Heloise entered the convent at Arguenteil, and they did not meet for 10 years, until they began the Benedictine House of the Paraclete.

Heloise led her convent as Abbess of the convent of Paraclete, Nogent, France, until the time of her death in 1164. She was buried next to Abelard at Paraclete.

Works Include:

  • The Letters of Abelard and Heloise(compiled 1942 trans. Moncrieff)
  • The Letters of Abelard and Heloise(compiled 1974 trans. Rodice)
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