Anselm of Canterbury  

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"George Henry Lewes has observed that the only medieval debate of any philosophical value is the debate between nominalism and realism. This opinion is rather temerarious, but it emphasizes the importance of the persistent controversy provoked at the beginning of the ninth century by a sentence from Porphyry, which Boethius translated and annotated: a controversy that Anselm and Roscellinus continued at the end of the eleventh century and that William of Occam reanimated in the fourteenth." --Jorge Luis Borges , "From Allegories to Novels"

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Anselm of Canterbury (Aosta c. 1033 – Canterbury 21 April 1109), also called of Aosta for his birthplace, and of Bec for his home monastery, was a Benedictine monk, a philosopher, and a prelate of the church who held the office of Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109. Called the founder of scholasticism, he is famous as the originator of the ontological argument for the existence of God.

Born into the noble family of Candia, he entered the Benedictine order at the Abbey of Bec at the age of twenty-seven, where he became abbot in 1079. He became Archbishop of Canterbury under William II of England, and was exiled from England from 1097 to 1100, and again from 1105 to 1107 under Henry I of England as a result of the lay investiture dispute.

Anselm was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1720 by Pope Clement XI.

Anselm sought to understand Christian doctrine through reason and develop intelligible truths interwoven with the Christian belief. He believed that the necessary preliminary for this was possession of the Christian faith. He wrote, "Neque enim quaero intelligere ut credam, sed credo ut intelligam. Nam et hoc credo, quia, nisi credidero, non intelligam. " ("Nor do I seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may understand. For this, too, I believe, that, unless I first believe, I shall not understand.") This is possibly drawn from Augustine of Hippo's Ten Homilies on the First Epistle of John Tractate XXIX on John 7:14-18, §6: Therefore do not seek to understand in order to believe, but believe that thou mayest understand.[1] Anselm held that faith precedes reason, but that reason can expand upon faith.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Anselm of Canterbury" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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