William of Champeaux
Guillaume de Champeaux (c. 1070 – 18 January 1121 in Châlons-en-Champagne), known in English as William of Champeaux and Latinised to Gulielmus de Campellis , was a French philosopher and theologian.
He was born at Champeaux near Melun. After studying under Anselm of Laon and Roscellinus, he taught in the school of the cathedral of Notre-Dame, of which he was made canon in 1103. Among his pupils was Peter Abelard.
In 1108 he resigned his positions as archdeacon of Paris and master of Notre Dame, and retreated to the shrine of St Victor, outside the city walls of Paris, where, under his influence, there formed what would become the abbey of St Victor.
William left St Victor in 1113 when he became bishop of Châlons-en-Champagne, in which time he took part in the dispute concerning investitures as a supporter of Pope Callixtus II, whom he represented at the conference of Mousson.
His only printed works are a fragment on the Eucharist, and the Moralia A brevi ala and De Origine Animae. In the last of these he maintains that children who die unbaptized must be lost, the pure soul being defiled by the grossness of the body, and declares that God's will is not to be questioned. He upholds the theory of Creationism (i.e., that a soul is specially created for each human being). Ravaisson-Mollien has discovered a number of fragments by him, among which the most important is the De Essentia Dei et de Substantia Dei; a Liber Sententiarum, consisting of discussions on ethics and scriptural interpretation, is also ascribed to Champeaux.
He is considered the founder of extreme realism, a philosophy which held that universals exist independently of both the human mind and particular objects (a philosophy that followed on from Platonic realism).
In 1114, he issued the Grande charte champenoise (Great Champagne Chart) which defined the agricultural and viticultural possessions of the Abbey of Saint-Pierre-aux-Monts, thus giving rise to the modern-day Champagne wine region.
- Des Châlonnais célébres illustres et mémorables by Jean-Paul Barbier 2000
- inserted by Jean Mabillon in his edition of the works of St Bernard
- in E. Martnes Thesaurus novus Anecdotorum, 1717, vol. 5
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press