Medieval Philosophy: A Practical Guide to William of Ockham

M. James Ziccardi

Copyright 2011 by M. James Ziccardi

Smashwords Edition

Section 1 - Preface

The following is one in a series of reviews that has been extracted in its entirety from M. James Ziccardi’s The Essence of Medieval Philosophy.

It is intended to serve as a primer for students of medieval philosophy with an emphasis on some of the more important works of William of Ockham.

Section 2 - Notes on the Text

Square brackets [] found within quotes are mine; Parentheses () found within quotes are the author’s.

Sections in bold type or that are underlined are intended by me to highlight critical points.

Section 3 - Biography

(c. 1280 – c. 1348)

We now come to the English-born William of Ockham, the last of the medieval philosophers in our review. Once again, we find that there is little information on Ockham’s early life. He was born sometime between the years 1280 and 1290 (though probably nearer to 1280) in the village of Ockham, which is located near London in the County of Surrey. It is known that Ockham joined the Franciscans at an early age, and in 1306 he was ordained a subdeacon within the Order. From 1309 to 1315 he attended the University of Oxford where it is believed he studied theology. Afterwards, and while still maintaining his ties to the University, Ockham, like many of his scholastic contemporaries, went on to lecture both on the Bible and on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, which by this time had become the de facto authority on all theological teachings throughout Medieval Europe.

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