The Festival Hymns of Peter Abelard: A Translation and Commentary of the "Hymnarius Paraclitensis Libellus II"

Woods, Patricia Hilary (1992) The Festival Hymns of Peter Abelard: A Translation and Commentary of the "Hymnarius Paraclitensis Libellus II". PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[thumbnail of 11007748.pdf] PDF
Download (16MB)


This thesis examines the hymns contained in Peter Abelard's Hymnarius Paraclitensis Libellus H and those for the Sacred Triduum. Together these hymns describe and celebrate the major events of the history of redemption from Nativity to Pentecost, finishing with Church Dedication. The forty-seven hymns fall into groups, each of which is assigned to one of the Feasts. In this examination, each group is preceded by a Foreword which discusses the techniques Abelard employs to make a coherent whole out of the individual hymns. There follows the text, translation and commentaries. The text is based on that of Chrysogonus Waddell (Hymn Collections from the Paraclete Cistercian Liturgy Series 9, Gethsemani Abbey 1987). Although a translation of the hymns exists (Sister Jane Patricia The Hymns of Peter Abelard in English Verse University Press of America 1986), it suffers from the poetic licence involved in translating the poetry of one language into that of another. I give a more literal and more accurate translation. The hymns have been discussed in varying degrees of depth by different commentators, the most notable being Guido Dreves (Petri Abaelardi Peripatetici Palatini Hymnarius Paraclitensis Paris 1891), Joseph Szoverffy (Peter Abelard's Hymnarius Paraclitensis Albany-Brookline 1975) and Chrysogonus Waddell. Dreves and Szoverffy concentrate on literary and theological aspects, Waddell on versification, music and the history of the hymns within the Paraclete liturgy. Building on these commentaries, I have attempted to set Abelard's hymns within a theological and historical framework and to elucidate further the theology of the hymns by reference to his own prose works, especially the sermons, and to a wide range of patristic and contemporary writing. I offer a number of new interpretations based on different Scriptural and theological texts. Whereas Szoverffy generally discusses the literary aspect of the hymns as a body, I have systematically examined them as individual pieces of literature, assessing the literary techniques employed and their merit as poems. Because they are hymns, I have tried to set them in their liturgical context, showing how he incorporates in them references to the services for which they were composed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: P G Walsh
Keywords: Music history, Medieval literature, Biographies
Date of Award: 1992
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1992-74829
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2019 15:58
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2019 15:58

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year