reconciled to God, because by the life and death of His Son He has so bound us to Himself that love so kindled will shrink from nothing for His sake. Our redemption is that supreme devotion kindled in us by the Passion of Christ: this it is that frees us from the slavery of sin and gives us the liberty of the sons of God, so that we do His will from love and not from fear. This is that fire which Our Lord said He had come to kindle upon earth.
This quote from Abelard's writings is from the 1933 novel Peter Abelard, by Helen Waddell, which I just finished reading. The novel is rather ponderously written, with unattributed pronouns ("he" entered the room -- who is "he"?) and untranslated quotations in Latin and French, but overall it's a very good historical novel. Waddell vividly evokes the world of the medieval scholars and monastics and paints a very human portrait not only of Abelard but also of Heloise.
More on Abelard's "Moral Theory" of the atonement can be found at the Religious Tolerance website.
I've just started reading the new biography, Heloise & Abelard: A New Biography, by James Burge. A review of this book on Salon.com has attracted some controversy because it (the review, not the book) describes Bernard of Clairvaux as "anti-intellectual" and compares him with George W. Bush (in part because Bernard stirred up support for the Crusades). I've written here before about Bush as modern-day crusader, but to my knowledge W. has never written any beautifully moving works of mysticism, as Bernard did. Bernard may have had his faults, but he certainly was not anti-intellectual. (If you want to read the review on Salon.com, be prepared to sit through a 30-second commercial unless you're a subscriber.)
A more thoughtful and objective review is on Christianity Today's Books & Culture website. The book was also reviewed, along with several other recent books about Heloise and Abelard, in The New York Times just two Sundays ago.