Faith, Sacraments, and Charity
Although in theory Abelard remained abbot of St.-Gildas until his death in 1142, he spent much of his time during the 1130s teaching in Paris on the Montagne Ste.-Geneviève.1 This was presumably at the invitation of its dean, Stephen of Garlande, who had recovered his position as royal chancellor in 1131. While Abelard continued to teach dialectic, his major creative energies were focused on theology and ethics. A number of collections survive of his sententie about faith, sacraments, and charity, which were taken down by disciples from his oral teaching, probably at different moments during the 1130s.2 Internal differences within these sentence collections suggest that he continued to refine some lectures as his ideas developed, while others he left relatively unchanged. Abelard never produced a definitive synthesis of teaching responding to all the questions that he raised in the Sic et non. He preferred the freedom of maneuver offered by the individual monograph. The exact sequence of his writings during this decade is not certain. After completing the commentary on Romans (and probably lecturing on the entire corpus of Pauline epistles), perhaps by the mid-1130s, he finished the third book of the Theologia “Scholarium.” He then embarked on the treatise he had promised readers of his commentary, which would be called his Ethica but which actually circulated under the title Scito teipsum, or “Know Yourself.” While he certainly completed its first book, on vice and sin, we do not know whether he ever lived to write any more than the first pages that survive of the promised second book, on the nature of virtue.
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Publication information: Book title: Abelard and Heloise. Contributors: Constant J. Mews - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2004. Page number: 204.
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