ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf

§ 2. ST. ANSELM.

149. His Life and Works. -- Born of noble parents at Aosta, in 1033, ST. ANSELM was successively Abbot of Bec (1078), where he knew Lanfranc, and Archbishop of Canterbury (1093). Down to his death, in 1109, he spent himself without reserve in the cause of science and the Church.

Among his authentic works the Monologium and the Proslogium, the Liber Apologeticus ad Insipientem (in reply to Gaunilo, see below), the De Fide Trinitatis and the De Incarnatione Verbi, the dialogues, De Grammatico, De Veritate, De Libero Arbitrio, and the Cur Deus Homo, are the most important from the standpoint of philosophy.

We may say of St. Anselm that he was the last of the Fathers of the Church and the first of the scholastics. He was formed on the great thinkers of the patristic period, especially on St. Augustine;{1} and he effected the first systematization of scholastic philosophy, thereby succeeding largely in raising it above the level of discussions in formal logic. His mind was filled with problems, which he built into a system that can rival the anti-scholastic synthesis of John Scotus Eriugena. He reminds us of Gregory VII., who in the religious and political orders achieved such a wonderful organization of the Church and adjustment of its relations to the State: he is the Gregory VII. of knowledge. The pair of them are figures that adorn the eleventh century and mark it as an epoch of revival and reconstruction.

{1} "Nihil potui invenire me dixisse quod non catholicorum Patrum et maxime beati Augustini scriptis cohaereat" (Monologium, pref.).

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