Course Details

HIST 288: Reason, Authority, and Love in Medieval France

In a series of letters written after the abrupt and violent ending of their sexual relationship, Peter Abelard, a controversial and creative teacher and philosopher, and Heloise, a respected abbess and thinker, explored central questions about the nature of gender roles, love, authority, and the place of reason in human affairs. In other works, Abelard articulated new approaches to ethical judgment (the primacy of intention), the status of universals, and the potential of logical argument to foster interreligious dialogue. Through their use of dialectic, his works modeled new approaches to metaphysics, ontology, anthropology, and the nature and use of authorities. Through close reading and discussion of these works and those of select contemporaries, this course will explore the key philosophical, social, and institutional dynamics of a moment of profound change in medieval thought and culture.
3 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2021-2022