Anselm of Canterbury

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to Anselm of Canterbury: St. Anselm, Rene Descartes
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


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


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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Whether one accepts the theory of evolution or not, this is a compelling argument that in its details and line of reasoning is not terribly unlike that developed by Anselm of Canterbury centuries ago.
Anselm of Canterbury, "De Conceptu Virginali et de Originali Peccato," in vol.
The author of this useful new study takes four authors of a key period in the story of the development of logic as a tool for theologians in the late- eleventh and early-twelfth centuries (Peter Damian, Lanfranc of Bec, Berengar of Tours, and Anselm of Canterbury), and asks them awkward questions.
Julian of Norwich, a medieval English mystic, describes God as both Father and Mother: "God rejoices that he is our Father, and God rejoices that he is our Mother." Anselm of Canterbury depicts Christ as a mother in a devotional prayer.
In the past 50 years Anselm of Canterbury has been a subject of extensive research.
Cloth, $153.00--This is the second of Asiedu's planned three volumes exploring the thought of Saint Anselm of Canterbury. The first volume examines Anselm's career at Bec, his relationship with Lanfranc, and his transforming the intellectual life of the school at Bec by his development of the dialectical method.
Most contemporary analytic philosophers know Anselm of Canterbury primarily through the famous ontological argument of his Proslogion.
His considers Justin the Apologist's Dialogue with Trypho, the appeal to reason in Anselm of Canterbury and Odo of Tournai, hopes of conversion from the Renaissance to the Reformation, new perspectives from Roman Catholicism, Martin Buber's view of Christian faith as mistaking redemption, models of relationship, and other topics.
The Shahada ("bearing witness") puts it beautifully: "There is no God but God." As a warning against idolatry it means, "No God unless God." And the confession Allah-u-Akbhar echoes Anselm of Canterbury: God is "that than which nothing greater can be conceived."
M., Anselm of Canterbury and his Theological Inheritance, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2004; cloth; pp.
Specialists will find many details in the entries questionable or frustrating (Anselm of Canterbury, for example, did not defend belief in the Immaculate Conception of Mary [139], nor was Robert of Molesme founder of the "Cistercian Trappists" [141]; there are also many errors of date.) For the purposes of this volume, such errors, while regrettable, are arguably somewhat by-the-by.