Anselm of Canterbury


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Related to Anselm of Canterbury: St. Anselm, Rene Descartes

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 ?
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The Trinity was an even more sensitive topic, and it was for their efforts to establish this doctrine on a rational footing that Roscelin, William of Conches, Gilbert of Poitiers, and, most famously, Peter Abelard incurred the wrath of monastic conservatives like Anselm of Canterbury and Bernard of Clairvaux.
This study, invaluable though it is in assembling between covers material on the laity in the works of Peter Damian, Anselm of Canterbury, and Ivo of Chartres, keeps to familiar safe categories on the whole, and does not launch us fully on the wider seas either of the issue of actual 'lay thinking' or of the ecclesiological issues, until we reach the admirable conclusion.
Anselm of Canterbury described theology as fides quaerens intellectum, "faith seeking understanding.