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Passivity

"Abelard, Heloise, Bernard, and Hildegard were harbingers of change in Western Europe that would long shape the modern world’s understanding of love. Bernard’s Christian faith, loving and yearning, pastoral and kind, had a Janus face of hatred for the “other” that sanctified killing for God as a form of love and exalted self-abasement as true love. Hildegard’s affirmations of incarnation, the greening of the soul, could be glimpsed in cloistered life, but it could not overcome the horrors of the age. She held the beauty of Christ suspended beyond Bernard’s world of Eros and Mars, until it could be fulfilled in the future. Abelard’s scholasticism and use of logic were the first glimpse of education independent of the church; at the same time, his ideal of self-sacrificing love as the highest Christian moral achievement encouraged victims to acquiesce to violence in passive, forgiving love. Heloise stood in a long line of Christian dissenters who rejected the worship of violence, the demonizing of sexuality, and the valorization of suffering. She offered a love grounded in honesty, mutual care, obligation, and responsible uses of power."    - Rita Nakashima Brock & Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parkera ; Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire, p. 305


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