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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  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.
 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.