Free Online Bible Library | Roscellinus

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c.1050-1125. Regarded as the founder of medieval Nominalism.* He was probably born at Compiègne and studied at Soissons and Reims. He then taught at Compiègne, and in 1902 was accused of Tritheism at the Synod of Soissons. Although he denied the charge, the synod ordered him to recant and he complied. He then went to England, where he came into conflict with Anselm and returned to France. He became a canon at Bayeaux and taught at Loches, where he again became involved in controversy. He was once again teaching his original position on the Trinity, and Peter Abelard,* one of his students, attacked the position and defended the unity of God in the Trinity. A letter defending himself is the only one of Roscellinus's writings that has survived; therefore his philosophical and theological teachings are known primarily from descriptions of his enemies: Anselm,* Abelard, and John of Salisbury.* His reasoning applied to theology implied that the three persons of the Trinity were three separate Gods. A Nominalist, he does appear, however, to have tried to preserve the unity of the Trinity by maintaining that the three persons had one will and power.

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