27 MAY 1882, Page 24

The Great School»ten of the Middle Ages. By W. J.

Townsend. (Hodder and Stoughton.)—Jo`m Scotus, or Erigena, and William of Ockam, both of them natives of these islands, mark the beginning and the end of the remarkable movement of thought which Mr. Townsend has endeavoured in this volume to bring within the view of readers of average culture. That this has been a very laborious task, involving a very great amount of very difficult study, is manifest, even to those who have the most superficial knowledge of the sub- ject. The period included reaches to more than six centuries. Scotus was born in 800 or thereabouts, and William of Ockam died in 1429; while the Scholastic literature is a most serious matter to grapple with. Mr. Townsend deserves our thanks for grappling with it. His language is not always as well chosen as we could wish, he is some- times rhetorical with a rhetoric somewhat loose and feeble ; but he has worked conscientiously at his subject, and gained a mastery over it which only a few experts surpass. He can hardly expect to find a large public, but that which reads him will appreciate his diligence.