>And sorry if, by my own lack of clarity, this gave offence.
No offence, I assure you!  But I just wanted to be sure I understood you
correctly.  I don't think Bernard was so particular with regard to Abelard!

i.e., that Bernard's characterisation of A's
>theology as at once Arian, Palagian and Nestorian demonstrates 
>that he had, indeed, *not* read (or, at the least, properly understood) the
>writings which he (according to A) used as a pretext to persecute 
>Abelard. But, I had never--until your post--considered the possibility that
the slander
>was, well, a slander. 

I think Bernard's instincts are not those of the scholar.  If (which God
forbid) I were to disagree with you on some point, I would say something
like "Mr Crocket says X, but I think he is mistaken because of Y and Z".  In
other words, I would engage with you in argument, say where I agreed with
you, show where, if I disagreed with you, I thought your arguments were

Bernard, on the other hand, will characteristically say, "Abelard says X, 
but what you must believe is Y" (where Y is the orthodox belief).  He
short-circuits the intellectual discussion altogether, and simply reaffirms
the party line.

Now there is something to be said for this approach when you are responsible
for the salvation of people - be they layfolk or monks - who do not have the
grey matter to follow the discussion.  You don't want your flock to have
their minds confused by what St Paul calls "futile arguments."  Bernard
keeps his eye on the ball;  his constant intention is to teach the orthodox
faith.  He does not really care whether Abelard's views can be understood in
a Catholic sense, or whether they have been misreported, or whether indeed
Abelard had said them at all.  Abelard is merely a distraction from the
Orthodox faith, and the sooner Bernard can push him out of the way, the better.

Where I find this approach unacceptable is when you are using it to condemn
the other person, without any serious consideration of his views.  The
consequences of Bernard's zeal were very serious to Abelard, and he had not
been given a fair hearing.

As to whether there was any truth in any of Bernard's accusations:  
probably the one which comes nearest the mark is the comparison with
Pelagius.  Abelard does not seem to have had much time for original sin.  
His 'exemplary' theory of the Atonement perhaps overestimates our ability to
follow that example, underestimates the extent to which that ability has
been eroded by sin and the consequent need for grace.

On the other hand, anyone who can see his own castration as a signal example
of God's grace, does not need a lecture from me on the subject.