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History of Philosophy
Predecessors of Roscelin
by Turner, William (S.T.D.)

Besides the anti-realists, Eric, Remi, etc., there were, before the days of Roscelin, dialecticians who opposed the prevailing spirit of realism. Du Boulay [4] mentions a certain "Joannes qui eamdem artem sophisticam vocalem esse disseruit." The authors of L'Histoire littéraire de la France speak of the same teacher as Joannes Sophista. Oudin and Kaulich believe that Du Boulay refers to Erigena. It is more probable that the Joannes referred to is John the Deaf, otherwise called John the Physician.
[4] Historia Universitatis Parisiensis, I, 443.
Herman, abbot of Tournai, writing in the first half of the twelfth century, says that in 1100 Raimbert of Lille and many others taught dialectic nominalistically. It is impossible that the school of Roscelin could have grown to such dimensions within half a century of its birth. Consequently, Roscelin must have had predecessors in the teaching of nominalism; he was not the founder of the system but rather its first great expounder and defender.


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