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The Council of Sens Reconsidered: Masters, Monks, or Judges?

  • Wim Verbaal (a1)


The Council of Sens (May 25, 1141), during which the teaching of Peter Abelard († 1143) was condemned by an ecclesiastical court, has long been one of the most disputed subjects in twelfth-century scholarship. The outcome of the Council, understood as a victory for Bernard of Clairvaux († 1153) over master Abelard, bequeathed us centuries of distorted historical interpretation. For far too long, understanding of what happened was firmly based on the account given by Bernard's biographers, in the first place his secretary (and adoring admirer) Geoffrey of Auxerre, who related the confrontation between Bernard and Abelard in his contribution to the hagiographical biography of the abbot. Not unnaturally, the Vita places Bernard at the center of his time, making him the dominant figure of the twelfth century. Thus no doubt was admissible concerning Abelard's heresy and Bernard's right and justice in condemning him.



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1. Traditional dating of the Council on June 2, 1140, has been convincingly challenged and adapted by Constant Mews, J. in “The Council of Sens (1141): Abelard, Bernard, and the Fear of Social Upheaval,” Speculum 77:2 (2002): 342–82. The Octave of Pentecost 1141 had already been suggested by S. Martin Deutsch in 1880, Ferruccio Gastaldelli in 1989, and Pietro Zerbi in 1988, 1990, and 1992. In modern scholarly literature, however, Peter Dinzelbacher had followed this dating uniquely in his biography of Bernard, , Bernhard von Clairvaux: Leben und Werk des beruhmten Zisterziensers (Darmstadt: Primus, 1998), 236–48. After the article by Mews, , however, the new date seems to be more widely accepted, so Guy Lobrichon, Héloïse: L'amour et le savoir (Paris: Gallimard, 2005), 359 (where, however, the month of June is retained, whereas the Octave of Pentecost in 1141 fell on May 25th). For an overview of the redating, the scholarly literature, and an extensive argumentation, see Mews, “The Council of Sens,” esp. 345–54. In a wholly independent study, founded on the analysis of certain literary texts reflecting the reaction to the conciliar sentence, I also came to the conclusion that the date of 1140 was untenable. See Verbaal, Wim, Een middeleeuivs drama: Het conflict tussen scholing en vorming bij Abaelardus en Bernardus [A Medieval Drama: The Conflict Between Schooling and Formation in Abelard and Bernard] (Kapellen-Kampen: Pelckmans-Klement, 2002), referred to by Mews, , “The Council of Sens,” note 156, under its working title Niet als meester maar als moeder [Not a Master but a Mother].

2. The bibliography on the Council and the confrontation between Bernard and Abelard is indeed enormous. For some recent studies with bibliographies, I refer to the article by Mews, “The Council of Sens,” and to Zerbi, Pietro, “Philosophi” e “logici”: Un ventennio di incontri e scontri: Soissons, Sens, Cluny (1121–1141), Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo: Nuovi Studi Storici 59 (Milan: Vita and Pensiero, 2002).

3. Vita prima III., 13–14, in Migne's, J. -P.Patrologia Latina [hereafter PL] (Paris, 1855), 185, col. 311–12.

4. Such remains the view in the most recent biographies and studies; see Dinzelbacher, Peter in his biography, esp. the introduction, 2, and Pierre Aubé, Saint Bernard de Clairvaux (Paris: Fayard, 2003), 13.

5. This opinion is most harshly expressed by Schiller in a letter to Goethe, quoted by Bredero, Adriaan H. in his Bernardus van Clairvaux: Tussen cultus en historie (Kapellen-Kampen: Pelckmans-Kok, 1993), 202–3. As the opinion of a convinced supporter of enlightened rationalism, this need not surprise. More remarkable is the oversimplified account by Goff, Jacques Le in his still widely popular Les intellectuels au moyen âge (Paris: Seuil, 1957), 4950.

6. Not even the highly consistent account by Mews, “The Council of Sens,” escapes entirely from this presupposition, in giving Bernard the final responsibility over the procedure. This, however, clashes somewhat with his basic thesis that Suger was the moving spirit behind the confrontation.

7. As the opposition is labeled since the successful and thorough study by Verger, Jacques and Jolivet, Jean, Bernard-Abélard ou le cloître et l'école (Paris: Fayard, 1982).

8. Mews, “The Council of Sens,” n. 1.

9. This aspect of the confrontation has received most of the scholarly attention: see the references in Zerbi, “Philosophie” e “Logici,” and by the same scholar, , “Teologie a confronto: II Concilio di Sens,” in Il secolo XII: la “renovation” dell' Europa cristiana, ed. Giles, Constable, Giorgio, Cracco, Hagen, Keller, and Diego, Quaglioni (Bologne: Il Mulino, 2003), 381–92. See further Häring, Nikolaus, “Thomas von Morigny: Disputatio catholicorum patrum contra dogmata Petri Abailardi,” Studi Medievali, 3rd ser., 21:1 (1981): 299376; Verger, and Jolivet, , Bernard-Abélard; Mews, Constant, “The Lists of Heresies Imputed to Peter Abelard,” Revue Bénédictine 95 (1985): 73110; Zerbi, Pietro, “Bernardo di Chiaravalle e le controversie dottrinale,” in Ecclesia in hoc mundo posita (Milan: Vita and Pensieri, 1993), 453–89, and Zerbi, , “Guillaume de Saint-Thierry et son différend avec Abélard,” in Saint-Thierry, une abbaye du VIe au XXe siècle: Actes du Colloque international d'Histoire monastique Reims-Saint-Thierry, 11 au 14 octobre 1976, ed. Michel, Bur (Saint-Thierry: Association des amis de l'abbaye de Saint-Thierry, 1979), 395412. See also the recapitulation by Constant Mews of his studies on the creation of the list with the capitula in the introduction to his edition of the Theologia Scholarium, Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaevalis 13 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1987), 278–86.

10. This aspect is the subject of my book; see Verbaal, Een middeleeuws drama.

11. Mews, “The Coluncil of Sens.”

12. These are only a few of the manifold tensions that sought release at the Council. An additional tension was the artistic rivalry between Henri Sanglier and Suger of Saint-Denis, who both strove to found a new epoch-making architectural style, the building of the choirs of the cathedral Saint-Étienne of Sens and of the church at Saint-Denis occurring simultaneously and being finished about the same year 1144. And is it mere coincidence that the abbey church of Clairvaux, whose building started shortly after 1135 (that is, almost simultaneously with the building of the occidental parts of Saint-Denis and the preparations in Sens), must have been largely completed and consecrated just before 1145? For Saint-Denis, see the introduction by Françoise Gasparri in her edition of Suger's works: Suger Œuvres (Paris: Les belles lettres, 1996), 1:xxxii–xlvi. For the Cathedral of Sens, see Henriet, Jacques, “La cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Sens: le parti du premier maître et les campagnes du Xlle siècle,” Bulletin monumental 140:1 (1982): 81174. For Clairvaux, see Dinzelbacher, , Bernard von Clairvaux, 171–75, and Aubé, , St. Bernard de Clairvaux, 319–34.

13. These are the aims of my own research on the Council, of which a preliminary result was presented at the international conference at Ghent University on “Rhetorics, Politics, and Ethics,” April 21–23, 2005, in a paper under the title “The Birth of Academic Reproduction and the Sacrifice of Freedom of Thought: The Council of Sens (1141) According to Pierre Bourdieu.”

14. Only two attempts have been made to throw light on the procedural aspect of the Council: Miethke, Jürgen, “Theologenprozesse in der ersten Phase ihrer institutionellen Ausbildung: Die Verfahren gegen Peter Abaelard und Gilbert von Poitiers,” Viator 6 (1975): 87116; and Kolmer, Lothar, “Abaelard und Bernhard von Clairvaux in Sens,” Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte 98 (1981): 121–47. Their approach, however, although they draw attention to important aspects that have been remarkably neglected by later scholarship, still remains captive to the presuppositions of traditional research, as we hope to demonstrate.

15. An attempt has been made by the contributors to Breisach, Ernst, Classical Rhetoric and Mediaeval Historiography (Kalamazoo, Mich.: Medieval Institute, 1985).

16. As expressed in his dedicatory letter to Heloise, which is reproduced at the head of his collection of sermons for the Paraclete. See PL 179, col. 379.

17. One has only to remember Abelard's concealment of his lifelong protector, Étienne de Garlande, the mightiest man in the kingdom of France, although the peripatetics of the master can only be understood when brought into relation with the fluctuating fortunes of his protector. Bautier, Robert-Henri irrefutably demonstrated this in “Paris au temps d'Abélard,” in Abélard en son temps: Actes du Colloque international organisé à l'occasion du 9e centennaire de la naissance de Pierre Abelard (14–19 mai 1979), ed. Jean, Jolivet (Paris: Les belles lettres, 1981), 2177. The shadow of Étienne de Garlande, who retired in 1137–38 to Saint-Victor, where he died only after 1142–45, still weighs heavily on the events at Sens.

18. See the stimulating article by Monagle, Clare, “The Trial of Ideas: Two Tellings of the Case of Gilbert of Poitiers in 1148,” Viator 35 (2004). I thank her for allowing me to consult her article before publication. Mrs. Monagle makes a strong case on the limits of modern historiography when confronted with the particularity of some medieval texts; see especially her note 7.

19. See the references mentioned in note 9.

20. See Goff, Le, Les intellectuels, 4950.

21. Clanchy, Michael, Abelard: A Medieval Life (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997), 307.

22. Marenbon, John, The Philosophy of Peter Abelard (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 31.

23. First advanced by Jeannin, Joseph, “La dernière maladie d'Abélard,” in Mélanges St. Bernard (Dijon: Marilier, 1954), 109–15, where he suggested a brain cancer.

24. Zerbi, , “Teologie a confronto,” 390.

25. See for the text Chibnall, Marjorie, Ioannis Sarisburiensis Historia Pontificalis (London: Nelson, 1956), and for an evaluation of John's objectivity in comparison with the other contemporary sources, Cioni, Laura, “Il concilio di Reims nelle fonti contemporanee,” Aevum 53 (1979): 273300. But see now also Monagle, “The Trial of Ideas.”

26. Thomson, R. M., “The Satirical Works of Berengar of Poitiers: An Edition with Introduction,” Mediaeval Studies 42 (1980): 89138, with the text on 111–30.

27. Ibid., 111–12.

28. Ibid., 112–15.

29. Ibid., 115–17.

30. See Abelard's letter published by Klibansky, Raymond, “Peter Abailard and Bernard of Clairvaux: A Letter by Peter Abailard,” Mediaeval and Renaissance Studies 5 (1961): 127.

31. Undoubtedly as a way of fundraising for the reconstruction of the cathedral. See Mews, , “The Council of Sens,” 355.

32. Thomson, , “The Satirical Works,” 115, with an allusion to Ps. 25:4.

33. Thomson, , “The Satirical Works,” 116.

34. See the accounts by Geoffrey of Auxerre in the third book of Bernard's life, Vita prima III.14 (PL 185, col. 311), and (more important) the account by the bishops in their letter to the Pope, published in Migne's Patrologia Latina among the letters of Bernard of Clairvaux as Epistola 337 (PL 182, col. 542); reedited by Leclercq, Jean, “Autour de la correspondance de s. Bernard,” in Sapientiae doctrina: Mélanges de théologie et de littérature médiévales offerts à Dom Hildebrand Bascour O.S.B. (Leuven: Imprint Orientaliste, 1980), 185–98; reprinted in Leclercq, Jean, Recueil d'études sur saint Bernard et ses écrits IV (Rome: Storia e letterarura, 1987), 335–48, esp. 335–42. We will have to return to this letter.

35. See Cioni, , “Il concilio di Reims,” 298299, and Monagle, “The Trial of Ideas.”

36. Chibnall, , Ioannis Sarisburiensis, 21.

37. Historia pontificalis 10, in Chibnall, , Ioannis Sarisburiensis, 2122. Translation by the editor.

38. See the Vita Norberti, in Monumenta Germaniae Historica Scriptores [hereafter MGH SS] 12 (Hannover: Hahn, 1856), 663706, esp. 681, which stipulates that the Council was held against priests living in concubinage: “Interea concilium celebratur, in quo, ne missae presbiterarum, qui uxores habent, audiri debeant, decretum promulgatur.”

39. Abelard says that he was “invited” to the Council: “meque invitarent quatenus illus opusculum … mecum afferrem”: Jacques, Monfrin, ed., Abélard: Historia calamitatum (Paris: Vrin, 1962), 83.

40. Ibid., 83–89.

41. For a survey of the events that led to the Council of Rheims in 1148, see Häring, Nikolaus, The Commentaries on Boethius by Gilbert of Poitiers (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1966), 47.

42. The best comprehensive account still remains the monograph by de Montclos, Jean, Lanfranc et Bérenger: La controverse eucharistique du XIe siècle (Leuven: UCL, 1971). In my book Een middeleeuws drama, I have tried to give a more up-to-date reconstruction of the entire conflict (67–79).

43. See Montclos, , Lanfranc et Bérenger, 167–70, and Verbaal, , Een middeleeuws drama, 73.

44. Lanfranc, , De corpore et sanguine Domini 2 (PL 151, col. 411).

45. It should be noted that the assembly considered none of these masters a heretic. They all submit to ecclesiastical authority.

46. According to Abelard, this intervention by Geoffrey took place in his absence during the separate meeting. Thus, one cannot expect a literal quotation. At all events, Geoffrey's words show a remarkable similarity to the letter that the bishops sent to the Pope after the Council in 1141.

47. This is suggested by John, , Historia pontificalis 9: Chibnall, , Ioannis Sarisburiensis, 20.

48. See Goff, Le, Les intellectuels, 4142.

49. Epistola 337 among the letters of Bernard: PL 182, col 542; Leclercq, “Autour de la correspondence,” 337–41. The reliability of the letter is even enhanced by Henri's rather problematic relationship to Bernard. For Henri belonged to the “clients” of the de Garlande clan, Abelard's protectors, who had been in constant rivalry with Suger (and consequently with Bernard). Such tensions around the crown, based on familyfounded networks, figure among the important hidden features of the Council.

50. Although there are some indications that Sanglier was his true family name. See Mews, , “The Council of Sens,” 354, n. 39. Also Bournazel, Éric, Le gouvernement capétien au XIIe siècle (1108–1180: Structures sociales et mutations institutionnelles (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1975), 36, mentions a Pierre Sanglier acting as a witness together with the de Garlandes.

51. Cf. Epistola 337.4: “Ceterum sententias pravi dogmatis ipsius, quia multos infecerant et sui contagione ad usque cordium intima penetraverant; saepe in audientia publica lectas et relectas, et tarn verissimis rationibus quam beati Augustini aliorumque sanctorum Patrum inductis a domino Claraevallensi auctoritatibus, non solum falsas, sed et haereticas esse evidentissime comprobatas, pridie ante factam ad vos appellationem, damnavimus”: PL 182, col. 542C; Leclercq “Autour de la correspondence, ” 340 (italics added).

52. This must be particularly stressed because almost every modern scholar has read in Berengar's sarcasm a criticism of the procedure, while it in truth reveals a critical attitude towards the incapacity of the dignitaries involved.

53. These words resemble strongly the words of Geoffrey of Chartres during the Council at Soissons in 1121. We will return to them.

54. John wants to emphasize his reliability in an explicit way by assuring us: “Quod vidi loquor et scribo, sciens mihi apud Deum et homines conscientie et fame dispendium imminere, si falsitas presertim de re tanta fuerit in ore et opere meo.” Cf. Chibnall, , Ioannis Sarisburiensis, 17. His statement has to be understood in the light of his opposition to the writings of Geoffrey of Auxerre against Gilbert.

55. Historia pontificalis 8: Chibnall, , Ioannis Sarisburiensis, 1718, translation by the editor.

56. Häring, , The Commentaries on Boethius, 47.

57. Historia pontificalis 8: Chibnall, , Ioannis Sarisburiensis, 18, translation by the editor.

58. Ibid.

59. This protest and the immediate dispersal demonstrate once more that those present disapproved in the first place of the intellectual purpose of the statements, treated as if they were legal enactments. They did not disapprove of their being assembled without Gilbert in order to try his case.

60. Thomson, , “The Satirical Works,” 114.

61. Geoffrey of Auxerre calls him nimis elinguis in his letter to Albinus III.15 (PL 185, col. 589). See Häring, , The Commentaries on Boethius, 9, n. 25 on 6, and 72, who demonstrates that it had been impossible for Bernard to occupy himself with Gilbert's case before the Council of Rheims. John's silence on the preparatory steps in Gilbert's case can be explained by his absence during the synod of Paris, the year before, when the examination of Gilbert's book was handed over to Godescalc. The omission may also serve to heighten the contrast between the well-learned master and the “unschooled” abbot.

62. See on the list of capitula, which may have been read during the Council, the many articles dedicated to the problem, summarized by Constant Mews in the introduction to his edition of the Theologia Scholarium, Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaevalis 13 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1987), 278–86.

63. It might be compared to Berengar's irony on the bishop's eloquence.

64. Luscombe, David proposed this identification in The School of Peter Abelard (Cambridge: Cambridge, University Press, 1970), 33, n.l. The other candidate proposed, Geoffrey, bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne, seems less likely for the reasons given here. David Luscombe sees a difficulty in Henri being an archbishop and not, as Berengar writes, a bishop. As Berengar is not always especially accurate, this seems no great objection. The identification of the unnamed bishop with Henri de Boisroques might be of more importance than David Luscombe wishes to admit. For as everything points to a redaction of Berengar's text not very long after the events he describes, the identification of “the bishop of celebrated memory” with the archbishop of Sens seems to indicate that Henri had died in the meantime. Berengar, then, finished his Apology after January 10,1142, which makes it more than plausible that the Council took place on the Octave of Pentecost 1141 and not in 1140. This, however, has further consequences. Written in the same vein as Berengar's Apology is the anonymous poem Metamorphosis Golye episcopi, ed. Huygens, R. B. C., “Die Metamorphose des Golias,” Studi Medievali 3:3:2 (1962): 764–72. It gives a list of Parisian masters around 1140. One of them is Gilbert de la Porrée, who had however retired, according to the poet, from the schools, as he had been consecrated bishop of Chartres. This happened in summer 1142, thus pointing also to the year 1141 for the Council. For further arguments against 1140, see Mews, “The Council of Sens,” passim. Furthermore, both Berengar and the anonymous poet suggest that Abelard is still living. Abelard's death is, however, traditionally dated April 21, 1142. See Clanchy, Michael, Abelard: A Medieval Life (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997), 324–25. Luscombe, David, The School of Peter Abelard, 33, n. 1, already expresses doubt about this date. Even if Berengar's Apology could still be dated between January and April 1142, the anonymous poem simply cannot. Abelard's death thus seems to have occurred on April 21 of the year 1143.

65. 1 Cor. 13:1, 3.

66. Thomson, , “The Satirical Works,” 115.

67. The absence of all grounds for Berengar's scorn seems to suggest that he is quoting the bishop more or less word for word.

68. Thomson, , “The Satirical Works,” 116.

69. See especially his letters 190 (§ 2) and 330 in Jean, Leclercq and Henri-Marie, Rochais, ed., Sancti Bernardi Opera VIII [hereafter SBO] (Rome: Editiones Cistercienses, 1977), 19 and 268: although letter 190 especially has to be read with caution, as we will demonstrate.

70. Letter 330, 331, 333, and 338: SBO VIII (1977), 268, 270, 273, and 278.

71. Letter 331: SBO VIII (1977), 270.

72. Letter 332: SBO VIII (1977), 271.

73. Letter 337.1: PL 182, col. 540C–541A; Leclercq, “Autour de la correspondence,” 337–38.

74. Historia calamitatum: Monfrin, , Abélard, 8586.

75. This uncertainty has everything to do with the true issue at stake: the final juridical authority. Must this be situated at the local level of the “national” Church, assembled under the leadership of its metropolitan? Or rather at the level of the Collegium of Cardinals and the Pope? Bernard appears as the champion of the local jurisdiction, not only at the Council but also in his letters (see, for example, Ep. 178). Hyacinth Bobone shows himself already to be influenced by the more recent developments in jurisprudence as found in the first edition of Gratian's Decretum around 1140. In his opinion, the final judgment belongs to the Pope advised by his cardinals. This will be the same opinion, as expressed by the cardinals at the Council of Rheims, where they protest in person against the “local” settlement of the “Gilbert” case by Bernard and the leading dignitaries of the French Church. Their accusation that Bernard is causing a schism is better seen as another step in the internal rug-of-war for authority in ecclesiastical matters. Miethke, “Theologenprozesse,” 111–12, has rightly pointed out that the Councils concerning Berengar of Tours and the Council of Soissons in 1121 can still be characterized as more local procedures (“synodale Entscheidung”). At Sens and Rheims, however, this local character has according to him been quite discarded. He does not notice that the tension between traditional local jurisdiction and the new centralized juridical authority as advocated by the cardinals creates the uncertainty and agitation among the participants. For the two editions of Gratian's Decretum, see Winroth, Anders, The Making of Gratian's “Decretum” (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).

76. Panormia IV, ch. 120–36: PL 161, col. 1207–11.

77. PL 161, col. 1207D.

78. Letter 191.2: SBO III (1977), 42—although Abelard rather tried to give the entire procedure another, nonjuridical twist, as will be demonstrated.

79. Cf. also Panormia IV.100, which specifies the difference between secular and ecclesiastical courts. In secular courts the appeal can only follow the verdict, in ecclesiastical cases it may precede it: PL 161, col. 1202D.

80. See Panormia IV.34 and 95, referring to the same biblical precept in Matt. 18,16: PL 161, cols. 1190D and 1202B.

81. Letter 337.2: PL 182, col. 541B; Leclercq, “Autour de la correspondence,” 338.

82. Klibansky, , “Peter Abailard and Bernard of Clairvaux,” 6.

83. This has been noted before by Kolmer, , “Abaelard und Bernhard,” 127–30, who, however, remains wedded to the idea that Bernard is introducing extra-procedural elements. This causes him to read facts into the texts that are quite absent, for example, the presence of Hyacinth Bobone at the meeting on the evening before the confrontation. For the denuntiatio evangelica, see Lefebvre, , “Contribution à l'étude des origines et du développement de la ‘denunciatio evangelica’ en droit canonique,” Ephemerides luris canonici 6 (1960): 6093, and Bellini, Piero, “Denunciatio evangelica e denunciatio judicalis procata (con particolare riferimento alia transgressio promissionis),” Ephemerides luris Canonici 18 (1962): 152210 and 20 (1964): 39–109. Lefebvre, “Contribution à l'étude,” 64, n. 3, quotes a fragment from the Decretum Burchardi Wormatiensis (around 1027) in which this procedure is already evoked. Similarly, he points to the description of it by Sicard of Cremona († 1181) as a consuetudo, a custom: ibid., also 69, n. 4.

84. Bellini, , “Denunciatio evangelica,” 167–69. The witnesses are present not to testify to the fault but to testify to the admonition: Lefebvre, “Contribution à l'étude,” 68.

85. Bellini, “Denunciatio evangelica,” 173, and 184–85; Lefebvre, , “Contribution à l'étude,” 65.

86. Bellini, “Denunciatio evangelica” 194–97.

87. Ibid., 167–69.

88. Lefebvre, , “Contribution à l'étude,” 64.

89. Klibansky, , “Peter Abailard and Bernard of Clairvaux,” 6.

90. As we will see later, Bernard preached twice to the students in Paris, once at All Saints' 1140 and later at Epiphany 1141. These sermons can be partly reconstructed as different versions of the sermon De conversione. See below.

91. Letter 191.2: SBO VIII (1977), 42.

92. Panormia IV.119: PL 191, col. 1202D.

93. For the difference, see Plöchl, Willibald M., Geschkhte des Kirchenrechts, 2 vols. (Wien-München: Verlag Herold, 1960 and 1962), 1:361. A similar equation of denuntiatio and accusatio takes place in the SummaQuoniam status ecclesiarum” (1160–71); see Lefebvre, “Contribution à l'étude,” 6566. Bellini, , “Denunciatio evangelica,” 209–10, emphasizes the difference.

94. Abelard, in an obvious attempt to minimize the event of Soissons and to ridicule the ecclesiastical court, tells us that he was “invited” to bring his book to “the little assembly” (conventiculum). See Monfrin, , Abélard, 83.

95. Klibansky, , “Peter Abailard and Bernard of Clairvaux,” 7: “Dominus itaque archiepiscopus iuxta petitionem nostram litteras ad eum direxerat: si in accusarione mei perseverare vellet, me paratum habere in octavis Pentecostes super his quae obiecit capitulis respondere.” For the improper use by Abelard of the juridical term accusatio instead of denuntiatio, see above.

96. For the political background to Abelard's life and actions, see Bautier, , “Paris au temps d'Abélard,” 2177, for the situation around 1137, esp. 77. In my book Een middeleeuws drama, 91–143, I have tried to set the latter part of Abelard's life against the background of Bautier's analyses.

97. Letter 337.2: PL 185, col. 541B–C; Leclercq, “Autour de la correspondence,” 338–39: “Quod magister Petrus minus patienter et nimium aegre ferens, crebro nos pulsare coepit, nee ante voluit desistere, quoad ad dominum Claraevallensem Abbatem super hoc scribentes, assignato die, scilicet octavo Pentecosten, Senonis ante nostram submonuimus venire praesentiam, quo se vocabat et offerebat paratum magister Petrus ad probandas et defendendas, de quibus ilium dominus Abbas Claraevallensis, quomodo praetaxatum est, reprehenderat, sententias.” Abelard's provocation cannot be disconnected from his confidence at finding in the archbishop of Sens a loyal partisan. They both belonged to the entourage of Étienne de Garlande, who, although retired from the world, still used his influence in 1145 to get his nephew Manasses nominated bishop of Orléans. See Bournazel, , Le gouvernement capétien, 39.

98. Letter 337.2: PL 185, col. 541C; Leclercq, “Autour de la correspondence,” 339: “Ceterum dominus Abbas nee ad assignatum diem se venturum, nee contra Petrum sese disceptaturum nobis remandavit.”

99. See the articles 105–7 in Ivo's Panormia concerning the refusal to appear in court after being summoned: PL 161, cols. 1203C–6B.

100. I have analyzed the epistolary file on Abelard as composed by Bernard's letters in “Sens: une victoire d'écrivain: Les deux visages du procès d'Abélard,” in Pierre Abélard, ed. Jolivet, Jean and Habrias, Henri (Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2003), 7789. Here I will only rehearse the results.

101. See Ibid., 86–87.

102. Letter 330: SBO VIII (1977), 268.

103. Letter 327: SBO VIII (1977), 263.

104. Besides, Bernard saw his task as fulfilled after he had denounced the sinner to the Church. From then on, each further initiative had to be taken by the ecclesiastical authorities.

105. Letter 337.2: PL 185, col. 541C; Leclercq, “Autour de la correspondence,” 339.

106. As I have tried to demonstrate in Verbaal, “Sens: une victoire d'écrivain,” 86–87.

107. Letter 189.4: SBO VIII (1977), 14–15.

108. Vita prima 111.13: PL 185, col. 311B: “tamen magnorum virorum monitis flexus.”

109. See his letter 189.4: SBO VIII (1977), 4.

110. Speculum 77 (2002): 342–82.

111. Here I sketch out the results of Constant Mews's analysis of the complex and charged situation in 1141. See Mews, , “The Council of Sens,” 361–75.

112. See Verbaal, , “Sens: une victoire d'écrivain,” 86–87.

113. Job 41:15 and 16.

114. Ps. 14:1.

115. Gen. 1:26.

116. 2 Cor.ll:14.

117. 2 Tim. 3:5.

118. Ps. 144:12.

119. Ps. 11:2.

120. Letter 330: SBO VIII (1977), 267.

121. Letter 189.3: SBO VIII (1977), 14.

122. For an edition of the letter, see Leclercq, Jean, “Les lettres de Guillaume de Saint-Thierry à saint Bernard,” in Revue Bénédictine 79 (1969): 375–91; reprinted in Recueil d' études sur saint Bernard et ses écrits 4 (1987): 349–70. Text on 351–53. For the date, see Mews, , “The Council of Sens,” 364–65.

123. Letter 327: SBO VIII (1977), 263.

124. For the complicated history of the lists of contested statements, see the conclusive contributions by Constant Mews, , “The Lists of Heresies Imputed to Peter Abelard,” in Revue bénédictine 95 (1985): 73110; reprinted in Mews, , The Legacy of Peter Abelard (London: Ashgate, 2001), and Eligius-Marie, Buytaert and Mews, Constant J., ed, Petri Abaelardi Opera Theologica III, Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaevalis 13 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1987), 277–92.

125. Thus starting the denuntiatio evangelica or correptio fraterna.

126. SBO IV (1966), 69–116, edited in the Apparatus under the title In festivitate Omnium Sanctorum. In fact, this edition already consists of two successive versions. In my book Een middeleeuws drama, 278–83, I have tried to uncover Bernard's editorial reworking of the sermon against the background of the confrontations with Abelard.

127. This is the “standard” version of De conversione, as edited in SBO IV (1966).

128. De conversione 13–14, in SBO IV (1966), 88.

129. See De conversione 1, 4, 25, in SBO IV (1966), 69, 74, 99–100.

130. De conversione 3, in SBO IV (1966), 73.

131. Ibid., 109. In this passage is a criticism not only of Abelard's way of teaching but also of his theory about the guilt or innocence of the Jews, for crucifying Christ.

132. De conversione 39, in SBO IV (1966), 115.

133. The dating of both sermons has been done by Gastaldelli, Ferruccio, “Le più antiche testimonianze biografiche su San Bernardo,” Analecta Cisterciensia 45 (1989): 380, esp. 60–61.

134. See the account in Herbert of Sardinia's Liber Mimculorutn 11.17, in PL 185, cols. 1326–27, according to the testimony of Rainald of Foigny.

135. Abelard apparently wrote the Apologia in two phases. Abelard seems to have thought that a simple refutation would suffice, but then he may have observed that Bernard's preaching reached farther than his pamphlet could hope to go. He probably then decided to continue his apology. See my analysis of the work in Verbaal, , Een middeleeuws drama, 3132.

136. Mews, , “The Council of Sens,” 364–65, with the references to John of Salisbury and Otto of Freising, who mention Arnold's adherence to Abelard's school.

137. Hyacinth's initiative is indicative of how quickly jurisprudence was developing in Italy. Whereas Gratian in the first edition of the Decretum (around 1140) is still largely reliant on the ancient canonical collection, the second redaction, which must have been finished before 1150, already incorporates large amounts of Roman jurisprudence, based on the study of Justinian's Corpus, rediscovered around 1070. Hyacinth seems to base his advice, emphasizing the central authority of the Pope, on these Roman antecedents. Later, as Pope Celestine III, he establishes his fame as a jurist. For the history of Italian juridical studies at the beginning of the twelfth century, see Fournier, Paul, “Un tournant de l'histoire du droit, 1060–1140,” Nouvelle revue historique de droit français et étranger 41 (1917): 129–80, and Kuttner, Stephan, “Harmony from Dissonance. An Interpretation of Medieval Canon Law,” in The History of Ideas and Doctrines of Canon Law in the Middle Ages (London: Variorum, 1980), 116. For the development of Gratian's Decretum, see Winroth, The Making of Gratian's “Decretum.”

138. Innocent II, Letter 448: PL 179, col. 517.

139. Letter 194: SBO VIII (1977), 46–48.

140. See Verbaal, , “Sens: une victoire d'écrivain,” 80–86.

141. For an evaluation of these letters outside the corpus, see ibid., 86–87. Furthermore, the dossier “Abelard” in Bernard's corpus forms part of an entire block of letters treating juridical topics, one of them being the allowance to appeal to the Pope, esp. letter 178, in SBO VII (1974), 397–400, thus closely preceding the Abelard case. The other “cases” treated concern some bloody conflicts between the clan around Étienne de Garlande (involving Henri de Boisroques) and the reformatory faction, conducted by the bishop of Paris, Étienne de Senlis (moreover member of a competing family around the king). See Bautier, , “Paris au temps d'Abélard,” 6971. The two letters on Arnold that follow the actual file demonstrate how closely the two names were linked, although, for Bernard, Abelard constituted the present danger. Arnold was someone else's case.

142. For the analysis of the text against this background, I refer to my book Een middeleeuws drama, 276–83. For the earlier confrontations between Abelard and Bernard on the pedagogical field, concerning the period of the Paraclete, see ibid., 256–71.

143. See Verbaal, Een middeleeuws drama, passim.

144. Both Abelard and Bernard may be counted among the last representatives of what has been called “the charismatic culture” by Jaeger, C. Stephen in The Envy of Angels: Cathedral Schools and Social Ideals in Medieval Europe, 950–1200 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994). See his characterization of Charismatic as opposed to Intellectual Culture on 4–9. At the same time, I think the charismatic culture can be viewed much as it is by Mia Münster-Swendsen in her stimulating paper, “Medieval “Virtuosity”—Classroom Practice and the Transfer of Charismatic Power in European Scholarly Culture c. 870–1200,” delivered at The Cultural Heritage of Medieval Rituals III: Confronting the Heritage, Copenhagen, December 10–13, 2004. She gives the following definition of “charisma”: “designating a certain immanent force, which is seen to emanate from certain people endowed with special virtues. Charisma is mainly connected to a face-to-face bodily presence, but it may also be seen to be conveyed (and so preserved) through written or pictorial signs, though here in an indirect form which calls into remembrance the direct real-life experience.… Hence, the charisma of the schoolmen… is a result of deliberate, methodical cultivation.” I thank Mrs. Münster for her willingness to give me a copy of her paper. That this time of “charismatic teaching” had really come to an end is shown by John of Salisbury's account in his Metalogicon: he admits to having hung on Abelard's lips, but when Abelard leaves Paris (1137), he does not follow him, as did the students a decade earlier, to the Paraclete. Instead he continues his studies in Paris under other masters. Students are no longer traveling through France in order to find the best teachers, as did Abelard himself: they come instead to Paris where they can go from one teacher to another.

145. In my paper, “De tekst en zijn lezer. Stille lectuur en de vorming van het individu” [The text and Its Reader: Silent Reading and the Formation of the Individual], delivered for the Flemish Workshop of Medievalists at the University of Leuven, March 31, 2004,1 have tried to connect the individualism of the early twelfth century with the general spread of silent reading. Part of my argument will be published in Millennium.

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Church History
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