History of Western Civilization

Read Spielvogel Chapters 9 and 10 and:

Questions addressing factual issues only are highlighted in bold print (#1, 3, 4, 5, 6). Answer no more than one of the questions in bold print for credit. Questions dealing with primary source material are not highlighted in bold print. Answer two primary source questions, each dealing with a different source document (Questions 2, 7-12 relate to The Historia Calamitatum and questions 13-15 relate to Jacques de Vitry’s account of medieval students). No credit will be given for a second answer to a question in bold print, or to a second answer dealing exclusively with the same primary source document you have already addressed.

  1. Abelard chose the life of a scholar. Considering his family’s position, what other choices might he have made? What advantages and disadvantages did a scholarly life seem to have over these alternatives?
  2. Using the Abelard reading and the textbook, how did scholarly studies take place during the Early Middle Ages before the founding of the universities?
  3. How did studies take place in the universities during the Middle Ages?  How effective was this type of education?
  4. Who attended universities and for what purposes? What was university life like?
  5. How were medieval universities similar to our universities? How were they different?  How important to education are the similarities and differences?
  6. What does “theology” mean? Why was theology the most important intellectual pursuit of the Middle Ages?
  7. Based on his scholarly life and his seduction of Heloise, how would you evaluate Abelard’s character?
  8. Using the text book and this document: why was Heloise not a typical medieval woman?
  9. What do Heloise’s action and arguments tell you about her character?
  10. Can you compare Heloise to any eminent women from the modern era?
  11. From your text and from these readings, what can you conclude about how medieval women were valued? How are women valued in the modern world? How different are the valuations?
  12. What apparently was the medieval attitude toward marriage and celibacy? Why did they value celibacy during the Middle Ages? Why is celibacy not as valued in the modern world?
  13. What are your impressions of medieval students at Paris after reading Jacques de Vitry’s account of them? How does he characterize his fellow students based on nationality, field of study, or behavior?
  14. From your reading of both Abelard and Jacques de Vitry, what are the issues and problems that medieval students had that can also be found among students today?
  15. If you could select your class and gender, would you prefer to live in the medieval or the modern era? Why? Use the documents to support your contentions.
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