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The writer of Medievel mysteries Umberto Eco, after seeking his counsel, called Etienne Gilson an "Illustrious medievalist... dear and unforgettable" (quoted from the intro of the book "The Name of the Rose"). Well, Etienne Gilson, in this book, "Heloise and Abelard" sets out to solve a real mystery set in medieval times; that of the intricacies of love, an unplanned pregenancy, and the resultant problems (Abelard ,was castrated (but two of his assailants were, under Christian justice at the time, given the same treatment, as well as having their eyes gouged out)). Gilson in the manner of detective and psychologist, as well as historian, attempts to deal out justice as well as look inside people's hearts, and discover their true intents (which he admits in the end, God only knows). The true story of Heloise's love for Abelard is one of the most endearing ever told and something that many medievalists tinker around with (including Heiko Oberman) Abelard was on superstar status, in his day, as a professor of theology and philosophy in age where students had much more leeway to choose their teachers and professors were paid by the number of students they had; Abelard was so popular he had to hold classes outside. Part history, part philosophy (or history of philosophy), and Gilson takes some liberties at psychologizing a bit. If you like Umberto Eco you might like this book as well, but read about them on the internet or in an encyclopedia before you start, if you know nothing about them, as Gilson gets right into the detectiving with little background details. There are all kinds of devious and/or devoted monks that Abelard must contend with, like the monks in Umberto Eco's stories.Read more ›
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