Book Profiles Rise of 'Nutty Professors'

A new book explores the history of academic charisma, tracing the figure of the famous and glamorized professor to the beginnings of the great universities in the Middle Ages.

"One early academic champion was the Parisian master Abelard, who cunningly used the format of the disputation to point up the apparent inconsistencies in orthodox Christian doctrine. He lined up the discordant opinions of the Fathers of the Church under the deliberately provocative title 'Sic et Non' ('Yes and No') and invited all comers to debate how the conflicts might be resolved. His triumphs in these 'combats' made him, arguably, the first glamorous Parisian intellectual."