Date of Award

Fall 12-2020

Document Type



College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Thesis Advisor

Gregory Bell

Committee Member

Peter Judge

Committee Member

Dave Pretty


Peter Abelard, Heloise d'Argenteuil, philosophy, twelfth century, medieval France, abbess


The scandal surrounding Peter Abelard and Heloise’s love story has eclipsed the depth of their individual intellects resulting in many scholars devoting their writings to the couple’s overly eroticized narrative. After the condemnation of Peter Abelard and after Heloise commissioned herself into a convent, the relationship between tutor and tutee remained alive through written correspondence. Through an examination of their personal writings, this is paper will suggest that though their story has been adopted under the genre of a romance, this categorization falls short in conveying the highbrow substance of Abelard and Heloise, whose promiscuous beginnings have distracted historians from the intellectual wealth that was the foundation of their longstanding relationship.