Having studied with Bernard of Chartres, William was a master in Paris and in Chartres from around 1137 to 1144. One of his students was John of Salisbury. After 1144 he had a position at the court of Geoffrey Plantagenet, Duke of Normandy. His teaching covered the classics, grammar, the natural sciences and philosophy. He lectured on Plato, Martianus Capella, Macrobius, Boethius and Priscian, and brought together his teachings in a Philosophia, reworked in the form of a dialogue with the Duke of Normandy and called the Dragmaticon philosophiae. For William, the pagan philosophers enclose beneath a narrative or poetic metaphorical sheath (integumentum) profound truths that announce the Christian faith. In physics, while maintaining an all-powerful God, he affirms the autonomy of the laws of nature: “God can make a calf from a tree trunk; but has he ever done it?” There is thus room, next to theology, for a rational inquiry about nature: “a force inherent in things and producing the similar from the similar”.
See ARLIMA (Archives de littérature du Moyen Âge)