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Seminar 7:
Heloise and Bernard of Clairvaux:
Two Faces of Love from the Twelfth Century

Heloise is often remembered as the woman who was outspoken in her love for Peter Abelard. Bernard of Clairvaux, by contrast, has a much more otherworldly reputation, as the great commentator on the Song of Songs, and theorist of the love of God. In this talk, Dr Constant Mews considers both Heloise and Bernard as contemporaries who knew each other, and who were both fascinated by the theory of love.

Dr Mews argues that these two great personalities share a great deal more in common than is often realized, not least a common desire for authenticity in the religious life, and a shared fascination in the ideal of love. Particularly intriguing is the presence at Clairvaux of a written record of over a hundred anonymous love letters, which he argues are those exchanged by Abelard and Heloise early in their relationship. How is it possible that a collection of love letters should end up in a Cistercian monastery founded by the abbot who accused Abelard of heresy?

Date Wednesday 5 June
Time 7.30 pm - 9.30 pm
Venue St Peter's Church, Eastern Hill
Cost $15 (concession: $12)
Conductor Dr Constant Mews
Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Theology,
and Senior Lecturer within the School of Historical Studies,
Monash university

Authorized by the Vicar (
and The Institute for Spiritual Studies (
Maintained by the Editor (
© 2002 The Institute for Spiritual Studies