Anselm, Saint

Anselm, Saint

(ăn`sĕlm), 1033?–1109, prelate in Normandy and England, archbishop of Canterbury, Doctor of the Church (1720), b. Aosta, Piedmont. After a carefree youth of travel and schooling in Burgundy he became a disciple and companion of LanfrancLanfranc
, d. 1089, Italian churchman and theologian, archbishop of Canterbury (1070–89), b. Pavia. At first educated in civil law, he turned to theology and became a pupil of Berengar of Tours. After teaching in Avranches, Normandy, he went to Bec (c.
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, the famed theologian and prior of the monastery at BecBec
, former Benedictine abbey, near the village of Bec-Hellouin, Eure dept., N France, in Normandy. Founded in the 11th cent. by Lanfranc, and later directed by Anselm, who became (1078) the abbot, it was one of the most famous medieval schools.
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, which Anselm soon joined (1060). Anselm became prior (1063) and abbot (1078) and brought widespread fame to the school there. Monastic holdings in England drew him into English public life, and he won the esteem of William the Conqueror. When Lanfranc died, Anselm succeeded him as archbishop of Canterbury (1093).

He disputed the right of William IIWilliam II
or William Rufus
, d. 1100, king of England (1087–1100), son and successor of William I. He was called William Rufus or William the Red because of his ruddy complexion.
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 to invest him, reserving this for Pope Urban IIUrban II,
c.1042–1099, pope (1088–99), a Frenchman named Odo (or Eudes) of Lagery; successor of Victor III. He studied at Reims and became a monk at Cluny. He went to Rome, as prior of Cluny, early in the reign of St. Gregory VII.
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, whom William refused to recognize. Anselm momentarily overcame the king's intransigence and took the pallium from Urban's legate. Anselm's further reform-minded efforts to free the church from ecclesiastical abuses met stiff resistance. When he went to Rome for support, William banished him and confiscated the diocesan properties. At the Council of Bari (1098) Anselm ably defended the Filioque of the creedcreed
[Lat. credo=I believe], summary of basic doctrines of faith. The following are historically important Christian creeds.

1 The Nicene Creed, beginning, "I believe in one God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and
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 in the East-West controversy on the procession of the Holy Spirit.

Henry IHenry I,
1068–1135, king of England (1100–1135), youngest son of William I. He was called Henry Beauclerc because he could write. He quarreled with his elder brothers, William II of England and Robert II, duke of Normandy, and attempted with little success to
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 of England recalled Anselm, who proved valuable in arranging Henry's marriage to Matilda of Scotland and in gaining the support of the barons for the king in his dispute with Robert of Normandy. Conflict over lay investitureinvestiture,
in feudalism, ceremony by which an overlord transferred a fief to a vassal or by which, in ecclesiastical law, an elected cleric received the pastoral ring and staff (the symbols of spiritual office) signifying the transfer of the office.
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 now broke out, however, and Anselm refused to consecrate bishops and abbots nominated by the king. He was again banished while appealing in Rome. Anselm eventually won (1107) Henry's agreement to surrender the right of investiture in exchange for homage from church revenues—a compromise that strengthened papal authority in the English church.

Anselm's writings mark him as one of the founders of scholasticismscholasticism
, philosophy and theology of Western Christendom in the Middle Ages. Virtually all medieval philosophers of any significance were theologians, and their philosophy is generally embodied in their theological writings.
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. A strict Augustinian, operating from the formula fides quaerens intellectum (faith seeking understanding), he believed in an essential harmony between revelation and reason. He was the first to incorporate elements of rational Aristotelian dialectics into theology. His precision and mystical insight give permanent value to such works as Cur Deus Homo? (1094–98), on the atonementatonement,
the reconciliation, or "at-one-ment," of sinful humanity with God. In Judaism both the Bible and rabbinical thought reflect the belief that God's chosen people must be pure to remain in communion with God.
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. He constructed rational proofs for God's existence in Monologium (c.1070), and in the sequel Proslogium he advanced his famous ontological proof, which deduces God's existence from the human notion of a perfect being in whom nothing is lacking. In De Fide Trinitatis he defended universals against the nominalist RoscelinRoscelin
, c.1045–c.1120, French scholastic philosopher, also called Roscellinus, Johannes Roscellinus, and Jean Roscelin. Roscelin was one of the first thinkers of the Middle Ages to deal with the problem of universals, or general concepts (see realism).
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. He taught the Immaculate Conception of Mary in De Conceptu Virginali and is said to have instituted that feast in England. Feast: Apr. 21.


See his letters, translated by Fröhlich (1990); Walter Eadmer's Life of St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury (tr. by R. W. Southern, 1962); studies by R. W. Southern (1963 and 1990), C. Hartshorne (1965), D. P. Henry (1967), and G. R. Evans (1989).

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