William of Ware

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Listed variously as of Garo, Guarro, Varro, etc. (see A. B. Emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500 ), English Franciscan honored as Doctor fundatus, praeclarus, and acutus ; b. Ware, Hertfordshire, c. 125560; d. unknown. He entered the order early and studied at Oxford, where he commented on the Sentences c. 1292 to 1294, and possibly a second and third time also (c. 1300, c. 1305). He was an inceptor at Oxford; it is disputed whether he was ever at Paris, but some hold he was a magister regens there. An early tradition also maintains that he was the teacher of John duns scotus.

Of his works, only his commentary on the Sentences, consisting of some 230 questions, is known, and of these only 25 have been published. Some 55 manuscripts contain distinct (probably three) redactions, reportationes, and abbreviations. Martin of Alnwick seems to have had a hand in the second redaction. William's commentary deals with many opinions of predecessors and contemporaries, especially of the Oxford milieu, and its critical attitude undoubtedly influenced Scotus and william of ockham. An eclectic, Ware often stands at the midpoint between augustinianism and aristotelianism, yet proposes many original views. In philosophy, he rejects the theory of illumination and accepts the Aristotelian theory of knowledge, but with some emendations. He posits a formal distinction between essence and existence; between entity, truth, and goodness; and between the soul and its faculties. Primary matter is a positive entity in itself, and there are only two substantial forms, the intellective soul and the form of corporeity. William recognizes the primacy of the will and attaches to it an absolute autodeterminism.

Theology is not a strict science, since its principles, the articles of faith, are not evident. It is not a speculative, practical, or affective discipline, but a contemplative one. Its object is God "under the aspect of the good," whom man cannot know comprehensively, but only to some extent "under the notion of the infinite." The unicity of God is demonstrable by faith alone, a thesis that influenced Ockham and others. In the doctrine of the Trinity, William follows the psychological explanation proposed by henry of ghent. His Christology teaches the absolute primacy of Christ, and he was undoubtedly the first to introduce and positively defend the Immaculate Conception in university schools.

Bibliography: f. x. putallaz, "Measures prises par l'odre de Freres Mineurs (Guillame de la Mare et Jean Peckham)," in Figures franciscaines: De Bonaventure a Duns Scot (Paris 1997) 3750, bibliography. g. gal, ed., "Guilelmi de Ware OFM Doctrina Philosiphica per Summa Capita Proposita," Franciscan Studies 14 (1954) 155180; 265292.

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William of Ware

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