The Letters of Abelard and Heloise Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. In what way did Abelard establish his reputation and earn a following?

2. For what does Abelard ask Heloise to pray?

3. What does Heloise say men say about her?

4. How does Heloise describe herself to Abelard?

5. What does Abelard say he wants as an outcome of others' prayers?

Short Essay Questions

1. What occasioned Heloise's letter to Abelard?

2. What two things does Heloise ask Abelard in Letter 6?

3. What sources does Abelard use in prescribing his rule to Heloise in Letter 8?

4. How does Abelard end Letter 7?

5. Why does Abelard say in Letter 5 he filled Heloise with distress in his previous letter?

6. What reason does Abelard give for writing to Heloise again in Letter 5?

7. How does Heloise surprise Abelard in Letter 4, and what does he do in response in Letter 5?

8. Who are the correspondents in Letter 9?

9. How does Heloise compare Abelard and God?

10. Why does the author of Letter 9 say Abelard retreated to Cluny?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What does 'love' mean to Abelard and Heloise? How do their letters--and their actions--define it?

Essay Topic 2

Describe the benefits of the Rules Abelard prescribes for Heloise and her nuns. What are the direct and indirect benefits of the Rules? Who benefits by them? How are the benefits reckoned, and are there other ways to look at the virtues of the Rules?

Essay Topic 3

Research the history of the letters of Abelard and Heloise. By what mechanisms were they transmitted to posterity? Who made sure that these letters survived? Were they ever in danger of being lost? What value do written texts have to Abelard and Heloise and their culture? What makes the written absolution important? What provision is made for the preservation of textual culture?

(see the answer keys)

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