From Augustine to Anselm: The Influence of De trinitate on the Monologion

By F.B.A. Asiedu

ISBN 978-2-503-54086-3
Book Series: Instrumenta Patristica et Mediaevalia

Anselm (1033-1109) described the Monologion, his first major theological work, as a model meditation on the divine essence; and he enjoined his potential critics to read Augustine’s De trinitate diligently and then judge the Monologion by it. In following Anselm’s admonition, I have paid particular attention to Anselm’s claims about the persuasiveness of his arguments, and probed the cogency of some of the many arguments that make up the Monologion. The result is something like a critical companion to the Monologion. It is not meant to replace an actual reading of the Monologion, which is an experience worth having, since no interpretation or paraphrase can capture the feeling of wading through Anselm’s analytic arguments. And I have resisted the common tendency of reading the Monologion merely as a prelude to its more evocative sequel, the Proslogion. Because Anselm’s arguments attend to fundamental themes in philosophical theology, this book also provides comment on the state of early medieval philosophical theology and Anselm’s unique contribution to it. The book has implications not only for our understanding of Anselm’s thought and its relation to ancient and early medieval Christian tradition, but also for the ways in which theologians and philosophers since Anselm have appropriated his ideas. Since a good deal of that appropriation often overlooks the Monologion, this study should help towards a re-orientation to Anselm and his relevance to contemporary debates about theological method in general and analytic theology in particular.

Dr. F. B. A. Asiedu is a visiting scholar at Emory University (Atlanta, GA). His research and teaching cover a wide area including ancient and medieval Christianity, intellectual history, philosophical hermeneutics, and social and political thought.

Publication scheduled for May 2012
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April 6th, 2012 11:55 am