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William of Champeaux

William of Champeaux

William of Champeaux (Gulielmus Campellensis) was born about 1070 at Champeaux, near Melun. He studied under Anselm of Laon and Roscellinus, his training in philosophy thereby being influenced by both realism and nominalism. His own inclination, however, was strongly towards the former, and it was as a determined proponent of realism that he began to teach in the school of the cathedral of Notre Dame, of which he was made canon in 1103. In 1108 he withdrew to the abbey of St. Victor, and subsequently became bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne. He died in 1121. As a teacher his influence was wide; he was a vigorous defender of orthodoxy and a passionate adversary of the heterodox philosophy of his former master, Roscellinus. That he and Abélard disagreed was only natural, but Abélard's statement that he argued William into abandoning the basic principles of his philosophy is certainly untrue.