65th out of 106 books — 70 voters
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Clanchy presents a fullness to Abelard balancing the known sources with scholarly assessment. His book is well written, accessible, and well founded in an insightful explication of the times, politcs of the church and France, and the uneasy exchange between ecclesiastical and philosophical apporaches to truth. I highly recommend the book for those inerested in Abelard, medieval history, diatribe, church history, and the interaction of theology and philosophy. Much insight can be gained from a st ...more
The title really speaks to Clanchy's goals. He does center the work on Abelard, but he also spends much time putting him in context. It is an interesting read, though if you are hoping to read much about Abelard and Heloise and/or their writings, then this isn't the best choice.
Has details other biographies miss, but also requires padding in a few areas. Best discussion of Abelard as a Goliard -- not the best discussion of Abelard as a lover. Supplement with Constant Mews, James Burge, and Levitan's translation of the letters for a full picture.