The Letters of Abelard and Heloise Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe Abelard's relationship with William of Champeaux.

Abelard went to Paris to join William of Champeaux, who was the great philosopher of Paris. Abelard differed in opinion from William of Champeaux, and William of Champeaux took umbrage to his attempts to disprove him. The two became enemies, and William of Champeaux stood in the way of Abelard's career, preventing him through his allies from opening schools. When William of Champeaux became bishop, Abelard continued to oppose him, and it was only after William of Champeaux's anger at Abelard began to undermine his own position that Abelard could return to Paris to oppose him further.

2. Who was Anselm of Laon and how did he figure in Abelard's career?

Anselm of Laon was a teacher of theology and Scripture. He and Abelard debated Scripture but Abelard was only supposed to be strong in philosophy, not Scripture. Abelard performed well and impressed many people, establishing his reputation as a thinker.

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