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Problemata Heloissae: Heloise's zeal for the Scriptures


Both the early love letters of Heloise and Abelard, and their later correspondence, are suffused with the biblical text. In these collections, Heloise either refers directly or indirectly to the scriptures in order to sustain her arguments with Abelard, or as in the early love letters particularly, she moves freely in and out of either direct quotation of the scriptural texts or allusion to it, with the ease of any monastic writer of her era. However, it is in the Problemata Heloissae that we find direct evidence of Heloise's approach to the study of Scripture for her community of the Paraclete. The series of forty-two questions raised in the Problemata reflects concerns with which Heloise had been preoccupied all her life and appear consistently within all her correspondence with Abelard. These concerns stressed the ethical interpretation of the Bible and focused on the struggle to maintain a life of inner integrity in the face of sin, and the meaning of love particularly as expressed by the “freedom of the Gospel.” [Exerpt retrieved from publisher's website:]



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