August 27, 2020
Abelard’s Rule. The Paraclet convent and its order . Petrus Abaelardus is the man who divides opinion. This was already the case during his lifetime, and it also becomes evident in current research. It is striking that even though a number of studies have appeared on his capacity as a philosopher, not many discuss him as a theologian and even fewer as the founder of an order. The following article will address this unique aspect. Even though reference will be made to examples of the monastic life of women in the 12th century. Above all an attempt should be made to perceive this role as founder of an order as the logical evolution of Abaelard’s previous development and as the consistent continuation of his theological work. What role did Abaelard play as the founder of a convent for women? What developments had led to this role in the first place? How was the interaction with Heloise, who became the first abbess of the Paraclet convent? Why was the convent’s rule only ever formulated theoretically, but never realised and implemented? In any case, the radically spiritual fresh start which had emerged in the correspondence between Heloise and Abelard, did not take place. Abaelard’s rule, however, remains the fascinating legacy of a man who managed to transform the traumatic experience of castration into deep spirituality. This spirituality turned out to be an extension of his critical dialectic, coupled with the passionate piety of the Middle Ages.