This paper examines Abelard's engagement with disputation (disputatio) from the vantage point of twelfth-century scholasticism. Eschewing the well-worn details of Abelard's personal life and philosophical positions, analysis is instead focused on two parallel dimensions of his career: the manner in which he attempted to face-off with his adversaries through public debate and his underlying theory of disputation. It is argued that Abelard's theory is to be found not in his theological or logical works, but in his polemical letters and his ethical dialogue, the Collationes, which together offer a coherent hermeneutical strategy for discerning truth. Abelard's contribution to the art of disputation needs to be assessed in light of his broader involvement in the scholastic method and contemporary Jewish-Christian relations.
- © 2014 by The International Society for the History of Rhetoric. All rights reserved.