Peter Abelard (or Petrus Abaelardus) (1079 – April 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.
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- 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 ( 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
- 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
Quotes about Abelard
- Abélard would find most of his old problems sensitive to his touch today. Time has settled few or none of the essential points of dispute. Science hesitates, more visibly than the Church ever did, to decide once for all whether Unity or Diversity is ultimate law; whether order or chaos is the governing rule of the Universe, if Universe there is; whether anything except phenomena exists. Even in matters more vital to society, one dares not speak too loud. Why, and for what, and to whom, is man a responsible agent? Every jury and judge, every lawyer and doctor, every legislator and clergyman has his own views, and the law constantly varies. Every nation may have a different system. One court may hang, and another may acquit for the same crime, on the same day; and Science only repeats what the Church said to Abélard, that where we know so little, we had better hold our tongues.
- Henry Adams, in Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904), Ch, XIV : Abélard