Zitate von Petrus Abaelardus

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Petrus Abaelardus

Geburtstag: 1079
Todesdatum: 21. April 1142
Andere Namen:Peter Abaelard

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Petrus Abaelardus war ein umstrittener und streitbarer Philosoph des Mittelalters und bedeutender Vertreter der Frühscholastik. Er lehrte unter anderem in Paris Theologie, Logik und Dialektik. In Anspielung auf seine Herkunft und sein Metier gab ihm sein Zeitgenosse Johann von Salisbury den Beinamen Peripateticus palatinus „der Peripatetiker aus Le Pallet“.

Abaelard vertrat viele Jahrhunderte vor der Aufklärung den Vorrang der Vernunft nicht nur in der Philosophie, sondern auch in Glaubensfragen. Durch diese und andere kontroverse Lehren, aber auch wegen der Liebesaffäre mit seiner Schülerin Heloisa, geriet er in zahlreiche Konflikte. Neben dem umfangreichen Briefwechsel sind seine theologischen Dispute unter anderem mit Bernhard von Clairvaux bis heute interessant.

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Zitate Petrus Abaelardus

„Ich weiß es nicht.“

—  Petrus Abaelardus
Letzte Worte, 21. April 1142

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„I have ventured to bring together various dicta of the holy fathers, as they came to mind, and to formulate certain questions which were suggested by the seeming contradictions in the statements.“

—  Peter Abelard
Context: I have ventured to bring together various dicta of the holy fathers, as they came to mind, and to formulate certain questions which were suggested by the seeming contradictions in the statements. These questions ought to serve to excite tender readers to a zealous inquiry into truth and so sharpen their wits. The master key of knowledge is, indeed, a persistent and frequent questioning. Aristotle, the most clear-sighted of all the philosophers, was desirous above all things else to arouse this questioning spirit, for in his Categories he exhorts a student as follows: "It may well be difficult to reach a positive conclusion in these matters unless they be frequently discussed. It is by no means fruitless to be doubtful on particular points." By doubting we come to examine, and by examining we reach the truth. Introduction as translated in Readings in European History, Vol. I (1904) edited by James Harvey Robinson, p. 451 Variant translation: Constant and frequent questioning is the first key to wisdom … For through doubting we are led to inquire, and by inquiry we perceive the truth. Prologue as translated in A History of Education During the Middle Ages and the Transition to Modern Times (1918) by Frank Pierrepont Graves; 2005 edition, p. 53<!-- translation of Prima sapientiae clavis definitur, assidua scilicet seu frequens interrogatio … Dubitando enim ad inquisitionem venimus; inquirendo veritatem percipimus. -->

„I give you advice, which could I myself follow, I should be happy.“

—  Peter Abelard
Context: Sometimes I grieve for the house of the Paraclete, and wish to see it again. Ah, Philintus! does not the love of Heloise still burn in my heart? I have not yet triumphed over that happy passion. In the midst of my retirement I sigh, I weep, I pine, I speak the dear name of Heloise, pleased to hear the sound, I complain of the severity of Heaven. But, oh! let us not deceive ourselves: I have not made a right use of grace. I am thoroughly wretched. I have not yet torn from my heart deep roots which vice has planted in it. For if my conversion was sincere, how could I take a pleasure to relate my past follies? Could I not more easily comfort myself in my afflictions? Could I not turn to my advantage those words of God himself, If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if the world hate you, ye know that it hated me also? Come Philintus, let us make a strong effort, turn our misfortunes to our advantage, make them meritorious, or at least wipe out our offences; let us receive, without murmuring, what comes from the hand of God, and let us not oppose our will to his. Adieu. I give you advice, which could I myself follow, I should be happy. Letter I : Abelard To Philintus, as translated by John Hughes<!-- 1782 edition -->

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„When love has once been sincere, how difficult it is to determine to love no more? 'Tis a thousand times more easy to renounce the world than love.“

—  Peter Abelard
Context: When love has once been sincere, how difficult it is to determine to love no more? 'Tis a thousand times more easy to renounce the world than love. I hate this deceitful faithless world; I think no more of it; but my heart, still wandering, will eternally make me feel the anguish of having lost you, in spite of all the convictions of my understanding. In the mean time tho' I so be so cowardly as to retract what you have read, do not suffer me to offer myself to your thoughts but under this last notion. Remember my last endeavours were to seduce your heart. You perished by my means, and I with you. The same waves swallowed us both up. We waited for death with indifference, and the same death had carried us headlong to the same punishments. But Providence has turned off this blow, and our shipwreck has thrown us into an haven. There are some whom the mercy of God saves by afflictions. Let my salvation be the fruit of your prayers! let me owe it to your tears, or exemplary holiness! Tho' my heart, Lord! be filled with the love of one of thy creatures, thy hand can, when it pleases, draw out of it those ideas which fill its whole capacity. To love Heloise truly is to leave her entirely to that quiet which retirement and virtue afford. I have resolved it: this letter shall be my last fault. Adieu. If I die here, I will give orders that my body be carried to the house of the Paraclete. You shall see me in that condition; not to demand tears from you, it will then be too late; weep rather for me now, to extinguish that fire which burns me. You shall see me, to strengthen your piety by the horror of this carcase; and my death, then more eloquent than I can be, will tell you what you love when you love a man. I hope you will be contented, when you have finished this mortal life, to be buried near me. Your cold ashes need then fear nothing, and my tomb will, by that means, be more rich and more renowned. Letter III : Abelard to Heloise, as translated by John Hughes<!-- 1782 edition -->

„A writer may use different terms to mean the same thing, in order to avoid a monotonous repetition of the same word. Common, vague words may be employed in order that the common people may understand; and sometimes a writer sacrifices perfect accuracy in the interest of a clear general statement. Poetical, figurative language is often obscure and vague.“

—  Peter Abelard
Context: There are many seeming contradictions and even obscurities in the innumerable writings of the church fathers. Our respect for their authority should not stand in the way of an effort on our part to come at the truth. The obscurity and contradictions in ancient writings may be explained upon many grounds, and may be discussed without impugning the good faith and insight of the fathers. A writer may use different terms to mean the same thing, in order to avoid a monotonous repetition of the same word. Common, vague words may be employed in order that the common people may understand; and sometimes a writer sacrifices perfect accuracy in the interest of a clear general statement. Poetical, figurative language is often obscure and vague. Not infrequently apocryphal works are attributed to the saints. Then, even the best authors often introduce the erroneous views of others and leave the reader to distinguish between the true and the false. Sometimes, as Augustine confesses in his own case, the fathers ventured to rely upon the opinions of others. Prologue as translated in Readings in European History, Vol. I (1904) edited by James Harvey Robinson, p. 450

„In fact we say that an intention is good, that is, right in itself, but that an action does not bear any good in itself but proceeds from a good intention.“

—  Peter Abelard
Context: In fact we say that an intention is good, that is, right in itself, but that an action does not bear any good in itself but proceeds from a good intention. Whence when the same thing is done by the same man at different times, by the diversity of his intention, however, his action is now said to be good, now bad. Ethica, seu Scito Teipsum, Bk. 1; translation by D E Luscombe from Peter Abelard's Ethics (1971) p. 53

„Often the hearts of men and women are stirred, as likewise they are soothed in their sorrows, more by example than by words.“

—  Peter Abelard
Context: Often the hearts of men and women are stirred, as likewise they are soothed in their sorrows, more by example than by words. And therefore, because I too have known some consolation from speech had with one who was a witness thereof, am I now minded to write of the sufferings which have sprung out of my misfortunes, for the eyes of one who, though absent, is of himself ever a consoler. This I do so that, in comparing your sorrows with mine, you may discover that yours are in truth nought, or at the most but of small account, and so shall you come to bear them more easily. Foreword

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