Anselm of Canterbury

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Anselm of Canterbury

 

Born 1033, in Aosta, Italy; died Apr. 21, 1109, in Canterbury, England. Theologian; representative of the Scholastics. Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093.

Anselm understood faith to be a prerequisite for rational knowledge: “I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order that I may understand” (Proslogion, p. 1). In contrast to the deductions of the existence of god from the existence of objects, Anselm developed the so-called ontological proof of god, deducing his being from the very concept of god, for “something than which nothing greater can be conceived” cannot be thought of as nonexistent. The understanding of being as some sort of “perfection,” which appeared in this reasoning, and the striving toward a direct intellectual contemplation of god are characteristic of the Platonic tradition. In a polemic about universals, Anselm took the position of realism. His extreme theological rationalism appears in the tract Cur Deus homo? (Why Did God Take Human Form?), in which he attempted through pure logic to prove the necessity of the incarnation of god.

WORKS

Opera omnia, vols. 1–5. Edinburgh-Rome, 1946–51.
Monologion. Latin-German edition of F. Schmitt. Stuttgart-Baden-Baden, 1964.

REFERENCES

Istoriiafilosofii, vol. 1. Moscow, 1940. Pages 425–30.
Barth, K. Fides quaerens intellectum: Anselms Beweis der Existenz Gottes. . . . Munich, 1931.
Jaspers, K. Die grossen Philosophen, vol. 1. Munich, 1957.

S. S. AVERINTSEV

References in periodicals archive ?
THE ART OF EQUANIMITY: A STUDY ON THE THEOLOGICAL HERMENEUTICS OF SAINT ANSELM OF CANTERBURY.
Not just any mom stands atop the dome, of course, but a woman "marvelously unique and uniquely marvelous," as Saint Anselm of Canterbury described her, "through whom the elements are renewed, hell is redeemed, the demons are trampled underfoot, humanity is saved, and angels are restored.
Saint Anselm of Canterbury is one of that limited number of great theologians of the Church who, secure in faith, nevertheless sought to bring reason to bear on the problems of faith so as to give understanding not only to believers but also to those who, lacking the incentive to believe, might eventually be willing to give assent to what reason without faith reveals, If the task were beyond his powers, then one must be ready to say that it was also beyond the powers of Aristotle, Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Pascal, and a host of other brilliant and dedicated philosophers and theologians.