Roscelin (rŏs´əlĬn), c.1045–c.1120, French scholastic philosopher, also called Roscellinus, Johannes Roscellinus, and Jean Roscelin. Roscelin was one of the first thinkers of the Middle Ages to deal with the problem of universals, or general concepts (see realism). Although very little of his writing has survived, he seems to have been an extreme nominalist, teaching that universals were nothing more than words. Roscelin's position was attacked by his pupil, Peter Abelard, but Abelard's own viewpoint on this question showed a considerable debt to Roscelin. Accused of the heresy of tritheism (teaching that the Three Persons of the Trinity are separate individuals), Roscelin was ordered (1092) by the Synod of Soissons to recant, but he escaped condemnation.
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