Description: This thesis seeks to determine the historical role of the twelfth-century abbess Heloise, apart from the frequently cited and disputed letters exchanged between her and Peter Abelard. Independent information exists in the testimony of Heloise's contemporaries, in the rule written for her abbey the Paraclete, and in the liturgy of the Paraclete. This evidence not only substantiates an erudite Heloise in concert with the Heloise of the letters, but serves as testimony to a woman of ability and accomplishment who participated in monastic reform and who sought to bring a positive direction to women's lives in the cloister. From this, it becomes clear that although Heloise may not have written the letters ascribed to her she was certainly capable of writing them.
Date: December 1988
Creator: Kelso, Carl J. (Carl Joseph)