Peter Abelard

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Constant and frequent questioning is the first key to wisdom … For through doubting we are led to inquire, and by inquiry we perceive the truth.

Peter Abelard (or Petrus Abaelardus) (1079April 21 1142) was a French scholastic philosopher and theologian. His tragic affair with his pupil Héloïse became one of the best-known love stories of the Middle Ages.

Quotes[edit]

When the same thing is done by the same man at different times, by the diversity of his intention, however, his action is now said to be good, now bad.
  • Prima sapientiae clavis definitur, assidua scilicet seu frequens interrogatio … Dubitando enim ad inquisitionem venimus; inquirendo veritatem percipimus.
    • Constant and frequent questioning is the first key to wisdom … For through doubting we are led to inquire, and by inquiry we perceive the truth.
    • Sic et Non, Prologus; translation from Frank Pierrepont Graves A History of Education During the Middle Ages and the Transition to Modern Times ([1918] 2005) p. 53.
  • Bonam quippe intentionem, hoc est, rectam in se dicimus, operationem vero non quod boni aliquid in se suscipiat, sed quod ex bona intentione procedat. Unde et ab eodem homine cum in diversis temporibus idem fiat, pro diversitate tamen intentione eius operatio modo bono modo mala dicitur.
    • In fact we say that an intention is good, that is, right in itself, but that an action does not bear any good in itself but proceeds from a good intention. Whence when the same thing is done by the same man at different times, by the diversity of his intention, however, his action is now said to be good, now bad.
    • Ethica, seu Scito Teipsum, Bk. 1; translation by D E Luscombe from Peter Abelard's Ethics (1971) p. 53.
  • O quanta qualia
    sunt illa sabbata,
    quae semper celebrat
    superna curia.
    • How mighty are the Sabbaths,
      How mighty and how deep,
      That the high courts of heaven
      To everlasting keep.
    • "Sabbato ad Vesperas", line 1; translation from Helen Waddell Mediaeval Latin Lyrics ([1929] 1933) p. 163.
  • The purpose and cause of the incarnation was that He might illuminate the world by His wisdom and excite it to the love of Himself.
    • As quoted in "The Abelardian Doctrine Of The Atonement" (1892), published in Doctrine and Development : University Sermons (1898) by Hastings Rashdall, p. 138

External links[edit]

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