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the son of Berenger, of noble descent, was born at Palais, near

, the son of Berenger, of noble descent, was born at Palais, near Nantes, in Bretagne, in 1079. Such was the state of learning at that time, that he had no other field for the exercise of his talents, which were exceedingly promising, than the scholastic philosophy, of which he afterwards became one of the most celebrated masters. After the usual grammatical preparation, he was placed under the tuition of Rosceline, an eminent metaphysician, and the founder of the sect of the Nominalists. By his instructions, before the age of sixteen, he acquired considerable knowledge, accompanied with a subtlety of thought and fluency of speech, which throughout life gave him great advantage in his scholastic contests. His avidity to learn, however, soon induced him to leave the preceptor of his early days, and to visit the schools of several neighbouring provinces. In his 20th year, he fixed hist residence in the university of Paris, at that time the first seat of learning in Europe. His master there was William de Champeaux, an eminent philosopher, and skilful in the dialectic art. At first he was submissive and humbly attentive to de Champeaux, who repaid his assiduity by the intimacy of friendship; but the scholar soon began to contradict the opinions of the master, and obtained some victories in contending with him, which so hurt the superior feelings of the one, and inflamed the vanity of the other, that a separation became unavoidable; and Abelard, confident in his powers, opened a public school of his own, at the age of 22, at Melun, a town about ten leagues from Paris, and occasionally the residence of the court.