highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Jesus Called)
Even St Peter fell into serious error and was publicly corrected by the Apostle Paul [cf. Galatians 2:11ff]. None of them were infallible. Augustine found himself mistaken in some instances and he retracted his errors publicly. He warned readers that his writings were certainly not the Gospel truth. So, we should accept only those things which we examine, and then, find to be true....

We are free to critique all writings of this type. We should accept none of them unquestioningly. If we did, it would be a roadblock to all discussion. Then, future generations would be deprived of the excellent intellectual exercise of debating difficult questions of language and of ideas. An exception must be made: In the Bible, when something seems wrong, we should not say that the writer failed, but that some scribe failed in copying the manuscripts correctly, or that there is a mistaken interpretation, or that the passage is misunderstood....

ok, so the Biblical escape clause is hardly outstanding in any time period, but he's doing a damn sight better than large groups of Christians I know, who'd never think about manuscript error or possible misinterpretations.

Rest of the Intro Here
highlyeccentric: XKCD - citation needed (citation needed)
Or possibly Awesome, like Serenity.

Yes, it's the unfinished tale you've all been lamenting... the sequel you've been waiting for...

The Amourous Adventures of Abelard the Arrogant Academic are making a comeback! The team was devastated by internal betrayals- Uncle Fulbert simply walked off the set one day, bringing the whole series down around our ears. But, like Dr Who, we are back. New Doctor Uncle, same awesome genius.

We left off with Peter Abelard gloating over his seduction of Heloise, and over Fulbert's dimwitted obliviousness. This week, Uncle Fulbert describes his rude awakening:

Didn't I suspect anything? How can a man be expected to suspect such things? I hope you don't think the girl's lapse was my fault. Oh no.

I raised her well, gave her the best of everything. What is a cleric supposed to do, suddenly saddled with a girl-child? I sent her to Argentueil. She reminded me of her mother, you know. Always such a smart child. Although where she got that stubborn streak I cannot say. Argentueil is the best school around for girls, I wouldn't have given her less. But she was never satisfied. Their library wasn't big enough. Their teachers never good enough. I would visit her, take her books from the cathedral here, and whatever I could borrow from other places. But she was headstrong, never happy with her lot. The nuns there found her impossible to teach. In the end, I had no choice but to bring her here with me.
A foolish choice. I can see you thinking it. A foolish choice. Why should a woman-child be given her way? Why should a woman be in the house of the cathedral in the first place? Perhaps you're right. I could think of no other course, however.

She was biddable enough at first. Her days were spent in the library of the cathedral. I would not allow her to go out to hear the teachers, I was not that foolish. The university is no place for a young lady. What was to become of her, I couldn't say. She had not the temperament for the convent life, though with her education she could have risen to high rank. I tried taking her to the sorts of parties where she might meet young people of her age and rank. She was sarcastic to the young men of court, but doted on the minstrels. Any man of education she cornered, regardless of propriety, and harangued him for hours.
What was I to do with her? She would make no one a wife, but she would not submit to the convent discipline. What is a man to do?

This Abelard fellow seemed a godsend. A tutor, the best of the young academics in Paris. She was satisfied to learn from him, and I thought he might instill in her some wisdom, some more womanly behaviours.
How should I have seen it coming? You cannot accuse me of laxity there. I should have left her in Argentueil, yes. But once here, who better to teach her than Peter Abelard? He had a reputation for stubbornness, yes. Perhaps even arrogance- never content to learn, he rushed on to teach as soon as he might. But such a man would command my wayward niece well. These academics, they all prize chastity and austerity as appropriate for philosophy.

Of course the town gossiped. The town will gossip. I thought better of my neice, and I thought better of Peter Abelard.
So he wrote songs for her. That's not unremarkable for a teacher and student. You've read the letters of Baudri. He wrote panegrics left write and centre- to Adela of Blois, to the Duke of Normandy, to the bishop and to the little boys in the choir stall. Have you never heard of a rhetorical device?
Of course she had a crush on him. Young girls will. Her stubborn will had met its match, I was hardly surprised to see that. He ought not to have taken advantage. It is a shame on his name, as a man and a philosopher.
Inevitably, I came in upon them. I packed him off, of course. Perhaps I should have been more fierce. I am a bachelor. The clergy are not trained to raise young girls! Besides... By now, I had little hope of her making a good marriage. If separation from her inflamed his passion still more, Abelard might be compelled to marry her.

He took lodging nearby and we heard little of him. After some weeks, however, the maid who took care of the girl came to me in quite a rage. Abelard had approached her and offered her coin, if she might arrange for him to see Heloise. A tight watch we kept upon her after that- the maid slept at her window, that he might not approach her therefrom.
It was not enough. One morning she was gone, the devious she-wolf. Gone!

What will happen next? Tune into HighlyTV to find out!
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (purple)
He is currently weighed down with his academic responsibilities- as a canon, he is heavily involved with the cathedral school- and will be presenting his guest blog as soon as the students have completed their assessment.
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (kitty)

Last week: Peter Abelard, an up and coming scholar, desired a girlfriend. He became the tutor of Heloise, daughter of Fulbert (one of the canons of the cathedral) and moved into the cloister with Fulbert and Heloise. This week, he has agreed to tell us, in his own words, of their relationship.


... He gave me complete charge over the girl, so that I could devote all the leisure time left to me by my school to teaching her by day and night, and if I found her idle I was to punish her severely. I was amazed by his simplicity- if he had entrusted a tender lamb to a ravening wolf it would not have surprised me more. In handing her over to me to punish as well as to teach, what else was he doing but giving me complete freedom to realise my desires, and providing me an opportunity, even if I did not make use of it, for me to bend her to my will by threats and blows if persuasion failed?...

Need I say more? We were united, first under one roof, then in heart; and so with our lessons as a pretext we abandoned ourselves entirely to love. Her studies allowed us to withdraw in private, as love desired, and then with our books open before us, more words of love than of reading passed between us, and more kissing than teaching. My hands strayed oftener to her bosom than to the pages; love drew our eyes to look on each other more than reading kept them on our texts. To avert suspicion I sometimes struck her, but these blows were prompted by love and tender feeling rather than anger and irritation, and were sweeter than any balm could be. In short, our desires left no stage of lovemaking untried, and if love desired something new, we welcomed it. We entered on each joy the more eagerly for our previous inexperience, and were the less easily sated.

Now the more I was taken up with these pleasures, the less time I could give to philosophy and the less attention I paid to my school. It was utterly boring for me to have to go to the school, and equally wearisome to remian there and to spend my days on study when my nights were sleepless with lovemaking... when inspiration did come to me, it was for writing love songs, not the secrets of philosophy...

Few could have failed to notice something so obvious, in fact no one, I fancy, except the man whose honour was most involved- Heloise's uncle.*


What will happen next? Tune into Highly TV next week for another special guest blog, starring Jenny Green as Uncle Fulbert!

*Peter Abelard, Historia Calamitatum (the history of my calamities); trans Betty Radice, in The Letters of Abelard and Heloise, Penguin Books, London; revised edition 2003; pp 10-11

highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (One Way)

There once was an up-and-coming scholar named Peter Abelard. So smart was he, and so outrageously arrogant, that wherever he went he could not stand to learn from the masters of the universities of France, but instead set himself up across the road as their rival. The darling of the Paris intelligentsia, he thought he was. And then one day he woke up and it occured to him:

I, Peter Abelard, am a very chaste man. Which is the ideal thing in a cleric and philospher, even one who isn't a priest. Yes, I, Peter Abelard, am extraordinarily virtuous. I don't visit paid ladies. I don't even talk to women- I spend my time in philosophical contemplation, I don't go to the kind of social gatherings where you meet women.

However, it occurs to me that I would like a girlfriend. A little hanky-panky on the side. I'm so amazingly smart that it could hardly destroy my ability to teach or learn.

I wonder what kind of woman I could cavort with? She'd have to be smart, to keep up with me. But not too old- young enough to be impressed by my superior wisdom.

Heloise, the neice of Fulbert. She'd be perfect. I hear she exceeds all other women in Latin literacy- so naturally she'd exceed all other women in appreciating my philosophical discourse.

So having set his sights upon 'that child', Peter Abelard goes to pay a call upon Fulbert. He's sick of paying people to keep house for him, he tells Fulbert. And it's well known in Paris that Fulbert likes to make a little money here and there. And then there's Heloise- surely the girl could benefit from such an esteemed tutor.
Yes, indeed, thinks Fulbert. A little extra cash could always come in handy, and Heloise is getting to that age where she'll be starting to think of men and fripperies and how is a bachelor supposed to keep her under control? A serious tutor might be just the thing to keep her occupied. And this Abelard fellow is known to be extremely chaste, there should be no problem with trusting him. Absolutely, Mr Abelard. Heloise is a good girl, but you know how young people are. Don't be afraid to chastise her- she thinks she's the smartest girl around. Needs a firm masculine hand, someone who'll bend her to his will. When can you move in?


What will happen next? Tune in to Highly TV next week to find out!


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