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“Inseparable Companions”: Mary Magdalene, Abelard , And Heloise

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Chapter Summary

While Peter Abelard (10791142) has always received scholarly attention for his philosophical works, his relationship with Heloise (d. 1164) and the letters between them have often been something of a curiosity, not useful for serious historians of religion but only for literary study, or rejected altogether for the uncertainty of their authorship. Mary Magdalene appears in devotional works, in the liturgy and hagiography, and in more expressly didactic forms, like sermons and letters or treatises of spiritual advice, throughout the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries in Northern France and England. The Magdalene inherited by the late eleventh and early twelfth century was the result of a long process of amalgamation and accretion. In the Problemata, Heloise poses a direct question about the Magdalenes role in the drama of resurrection.

Keywords: Heloise; Mary Magdalene; While Peter Abelard



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