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. What does Heloise say about herself?

2. What does Abelard make sure to say was NOT the case for his action?

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

4. What does Abelard say he wants others' prayers to help him avoid?

5. Why does Abelard say that Heloise deserves praise?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe what Fulbert's family did to Abelard.

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

3. What intercession does the author of Letter 9 want to make?

4. What does Abelard say is the purpose of monastic life?

5. In Letter 7, what examples of women in the church does Abelard use from antiquity?

6. What does Abelard ask Heloise to stop doing in the future?

7. In Letter 4, why does Heloise say she is disappointed with Abelard's response?

8. What does Abelard remind Heloise of in Letter 5?

9. Why does Heloise say there should be different standards for women?

10. What does Abelard ask Heloise and her nuns to do?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Peter the Venerable's letter to the pope is the first interjection from outside of Abelard and Heloise. What is Peter the Venerable's role in this epistolary conversation? What is his authority in this relationship? How does his appearance change the correspondence?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

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

(see the answer keys)

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