Bertrada de Montfort, Peter Abelard, and Adelard of Bath: The critique of authority in the early twelfth century

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Bertrada de Montfort is well known for provoking the wrath of senior churchmen in the late eleventh and twelfth centuries, for leaving her husband, Count Fulk IV of Anjou, and engaging in what they considered to be an illegitimate marriage to Philip I of France. This article explores hitherto unexamined connections between Bertrada's role as Queen of France and two intellectuals, both celebrated for promoting the cause of reason against blind respect for authority, namely Peter Abelard and Adelard of Bath. Bertrada deserves to be considered not as a self-seeking virago, as claimed by her critics, but as someone who challenged ecclesiastical authority in a similar way to these two celebrated thinkers of the early twelfth century. Both thinkers sought to place authority on a firmer, more rational foundation, echoing Bertrada's own critique of ecclesiastical authority in marrying Philip against the view of many reforming ecclesiastics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 29
Number of pages29
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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