In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Anselm of Canterbury

  • Introduction
  • Primary Sources in Latin
  • Primary Sources in English Translation
  • Biography and Intellectual-Historical Context
  • General Studies
  • Divine Nature and Attributes
  • Ethics
  • Freedom and Moral Psychology
  • Logic and Language
  • Metaphysics
  • Ontological Argument
  • Proslogion
  • Soteriology
  • Trinity

Philosophy Anselm of Canterbury
by
Thomas Williams
  • LAST MODIFIED: 12 January 2021
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0415

Introduction

Anselm of Canterbury (b. 1033–d. 1109) is the most enduringly influential philosopher-theologian of the Latin West between Augustine and the 13th century. Best known among philosophers for his “ontological” argument for the existence of God in the Proslogion and among theologians for his account of the Atonement in Cur Deus Homo, he is regarded as the quintessential “classical theist,” and his accounts of the divine nature and attributes, of freedom and the fall, and of human redemption continue to attract attention. This article provides an annotated list of Anselm’s complete works as well as selected English translations and secondary literature.

Primary Sources in Latin

By comparison with such thinkers as Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, Anselm’s corpus of writings is quite small. Schmitt 1984 is the definitive critical edition of Anselm’s completed works, except insofar as it has been superseded by Niskanen 2019. Schmitt 1936 presents a small collection of fragmentary works.

  • Niskanen, Samu, ed. and trans. Letters of Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury. Vol. 1, The Bec Letters. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.

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    A new edition, with improved apparatus and dating, of the letters Anselm wrote while prior and then abbot of Bec. English translation on facing pages.

  • Schmitt, Franciscus S., ed. “Ein neues unvollendetes Werk des hl. Anselm von Canterbury.” Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie und Theologie des Mittelalters 33.3 (1936): 22–43.

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    Often called the Lambeth Fragments, these are incomplete works on topics such as possibility and impossibility, causation, and willing.

  • Schmitt, Franciscus S., ed. S. Anselmi Cantuariensis Archiepiscopi Opera Omnia. 2 vols. Stuttgart: Frommann-Holzboog, 1984.

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    Reprint of six-volume edition originally published in Edinburgh by Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1946–1961, retaining the internal volume divisions and pagination of the original. The Schmitt edition is the definitive critical edition of Anselm’s completed works, including the treatises, meditations, prayers, and letters. It is readily available in research libraries but hard to find (and very expensive) in print. A searchable text of the edition without critical apparatus is available online through libraries that subscribe to the Past Masters database.

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