In the year 1033, in the town of Aosta, at the foot of the Alps, was born the man who was to become the great teacher of the Church, Saint Anselm. The man was born. From his earliest years, Anselm’s desire to devote himself to prayer, study, and work took root and grew stronger. Because of St Anselm Philosophy and writings, everybody asks what St. Anselm’s Philosophy is.
According to historians, St Anselm philosophy was necessary to penetrate more deeply with the mind into our faith, expecting the complete and blissful understanding that we will achieve in heaven. St Anselm Philosophy works and his considerations on redemption sprang from a lively impulse of heart and mind: in this respect, he is close to Saint Augustine.
Anselm devoted himself to study with an unquenchable thirst, a thirst to know all that God has proposed to the human mind in the material universe and the Holy Scriptures; he formulated the principle that would form the basis of the later development of theology “fides quarters intellectum” – “faith in search of the intellect enlightened to be known and cherished.”
What was Saint Anselm known for?
Anselm was born in Aosta at the beginning of 1034, and very soon, his mother sent him to school at the local Benedictine Priory with her husband’s permission. Here Anselm, aged only 15, asked to take the monastic habit, despite his father’s constant opposition, who would not allow his firstborn to disappear into the anonymity of a monastery when he should have been carrying on the glory of his family.
Saint Anselm is best known for being Archbishop of Canterbury. At Canterbury, his task was difficult, not because of the monks, the people, and the other bishops but because of the struggles between the royal court and the Pope. The Norman power was asserting itself against the Anglo-Saxon power, and the new king continually intervened in the internal life of the churches, either by imposing taxes or making appointments, in contrast to the line of Gregorian reform.
Anselm became seriously ill and asked to take vows before he died, but even in this circumstance, the father would not relent. Having recovered from his illness and lost his mother, ‘Anselm’s ship of the heart – as Eadmero said – left without an anchor was almost entirely adrift in the waves of worldly life.
Biography of Anselm of Canterbury
|Full name:||Anselm of Canterbury|
|Date of birth:||1033 AD|
|Death day:||1109 AD|
|The thread of life:||76 years old|
|Place of birth:||Aosta, Italy|
|Death cause:||Natural causes.|
What was Anselm’s motto?
In the Proslogion, the author, wishing to complete the first work, tried to give a rational demonstration of the existence of God, seeking “with a single and brief argument to show what is believed and taught about God.”
According to historical sources, St. Anselm’s motto is: “O God, you who give meaning to faith, make me understand since you know that it is useful, that you exist as we believe and that you are the one in whom we believe.”
This is “something about which nothing greater can be thought both in intellect and reality.” It must exist in reality. Otherwise, the human,n intellect could not perceive it as that something about which nothing more significant can be thought of.
What is ontological argument in philosophy?
Ontological argument in St Anselm Philosophy is a philosophical argument for the existence of God using ontology. Many arguments fall into the ontological category, often involving arguments about being or the state of being. In particular, ontological arguments tend to start with a priori theories about the organization of the universe. If this organizational structure is correct, then this argument will provide a reason why God must exist.
This ontological argument has aroused much controversy, but it certainly opened a new path for theological research, earning the author the title of founder of scholastic theology. Today Anselm is credited with having clearly stated, in all his writings, that he who wishes to do theology cannot rely on his intelligence alone, but must have a living experience of faith.
What’s wrong with the ontological argument?
The first ontological argument in the Western Christian tradition was proposed by Anselm of Canterbury in his 1078 Proslogion. Anselm defined God as “a being greater than anything that can be conceived” and argued that this being must exist in the mind, even in the mind of the person who denies the existence of God.
According to the historians confessions, nothing is wrong with the ontological argument. Anselm suggested that if the greatest possible being exists in the mind, it must also exist in reality. If it exists only in the mind, then an even greater being must be possible – one that exists both in the mind and in reality.
Therefore, this greatest possible being must exist in reality. The 17th century French philosopher René Descartes used a similar argument.
Key Verse related to Saint Anselm
“For I do not seek to understand in order to believe, but I believe in order to understand. For I believe this: unless I believe, I will not understand.”Anselm of Canterbury
Is Anselm’s argument valid?
Augustine, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, Occam, Descartes, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, and many other giants of the spirit have strained their powers to formulate such arguments, either accepting their validity or vigorously contesting them.
According to great historical scholars, Anselm’s argument about Christianity is valid. “It seems to me that it is negligence to be strong in the faith and to not at the same time seek to understand what you believe,” said Anselm; for “the Christian must come to reason by faith.” He must start from faith, “not to arrive at faith from reason; still, less must he, when he cannot understand, to depart from the faith.”
The history of the ontological argument was, even in his time, already very long. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109), a skillful and learned theologian, is known today because he was the first to unravel this argument in all its force.
Why did Anselm write Proslogion?
Anselm of Canterbury or of Aosta (b. 1033 – d. 21 April 1109), the most distinguished Archbishop of Canterbury, Neoplatonist theologian and philosopher, hieromonk and saint in the Anglican and Catholic Churches. In St Anselm Philosophy he is the founder of the ontological argument and in theology the founder of soteriology.
Anselm wrote and formulated the Proslogion because he was inspired by Plato’s theory of ideas. People can have different qualities and perfections. But there must be a source of all perfections. When man refers to God by formulating attributes, he is only giving a pale description of God’s attributes. It is wrong to say that God has goodness and wisdom; he is goodness and wisdom.
As long as man has in himself the idea of God, he must necessarily exist because an idea that refers to a non-existent God (or one with contingent existence) is not an idea of God.
What is the ontological argument for God?
One of the fascinating arguments for the existence of a perfect God is the ontological argument. Basically, of the three ontological conceptions (theistic, pantheistic, atheist), the theistic conception is the one that attributes to God the primary role in the birth of the Universe, being the infinite source of the possibilities and laws by which creation is governed, without being confused with it, HE being primordial and transcendent about the world.
According to historical sources, the ontological argument for God assumed that one could deduce God’s existence from his essence. Now, says Kant, existence is not generally a predicate of the body, nor can it be in this case. Thirty existing “thalers” are, conceptually speaking, no more than the same thirty non-existent thalers, although you cannot keep the latter in your pocket. So existing talers are conceptually no “bigger” than non-existent ones. In short, the concept of a “thaler” does not imply its existence, and the full extension of the idea will encompass accurate and non-existent thalers.
The ontological argument brings together eleven studies that reconstruct the theoretical structure of the theme in the authors who have glorified it. Structured chronologically, the work helps to understand the historical and systematic evolution of the ontological argument, from the Neoplatonic sources of the Anselmian opinion to postmodernity.
The three natures of God
Philosophers of all times have referred to the idea of God, formulating different views. Some meanings in which the concept of God has been understood:
1. God has been understood as the transcendent cause of the world
So God intervenes from outside the world by creating all that exists.
2. God has been seen as the inherent substance of things
A point supported by Spinosa in his work “Ethics” states that everything that exists is in God, and nothing can exist or be conceived without God. Spinosa identifies Nature with God: “Deus sive Natura,” and finds two discernible attributes of God: extension and contemplation.
3. God was conceived as the prime cause of things in the universe
A concept we find in Aristotle, who formulates the theory of the “motionless mover,” demonstrated by the fact that things move by the virbyxistence of a primordial cause, the “prime mover.” This “prime mover” is motionless and can set all things in the universe in motion. Aristotle identifies this ‘motionless mover’ with divinity, the pure act of original creation.
- Anselm’s father, Gandolfo, doesn’t even want to hear about it: the firstborn of the family is not to become a monk but to continue his father’s work and plans. Anselm suffers so much from this refusal that he falls seriously ill, but his father remains steadfast.
- Although numerous arguments exist for the existence of a present Creator, they all aim to show that it is contradictory to deny that there is an intelligent being when traces of higher intelligence are present even in the mathematics of flower petals.
- Most arguments for the existence of God are based on at least one empirical premise. For example, the “fine-tuning” version of the design argument depends on empirical evidence of intelligent design.
Anselm’s best-known works are the Monologium, or method of meditating on the motives of the act of faith and the Proslogium, or belief in the pursuit of intellect. It is necessary, he said, to penetrate more and more with the mind into our faith in expectation of the complete and blissful understanding which we shall achieve in heaven.
St Anselm Philosophy and his considerations on redemption sprang from a lively impulse of heart and mind: in this respect, he is close to Saint Augustine.
Trivia about Saint Anselm
- Evans, G. R. (1981). Anselm and a New Generation. Religious Studies, 17(2).
- Henry, D. P. (1967). The Logic of Saint Anselm.
- King, P. (2010). Scotus’s rejection of Anselm.
- Pini, G. (2013). What Lucifer Wanted: Anselm, Aquinas, and Scotus on the Object of the First Evil Choice. Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy, 1(1).
- Visser, S., & Williams, T. (2008). Anselm. Oxford University Press.