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The Major Works

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  967 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Although utterly convinced of the truth of Christianity, Anselm of Canterbury struggled to make sense of his religion. He considered the doctrines of faith an invitation to question, to think, and to learn; and he devoted his life to confronting and understanding the most elusive aspects of Christianity. His writings on matters such as free will, the nature of truth, and t ...more
Paperback, Oxford World's Classics, 513 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Oxford University Press (first published 1100)
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This is the first book in a very, very long time that I haven't finished. I was mostly interested in reading Proslogion because Plantinga thought highly of Anselm's version of the ontological argument. It just didn't make sense to me. I think I'm better off going back and rereading Plantinga's comments on it. I was also interested in reading Why God Became Man because of his soteriology. However, he goes on for pages saying that God created the human race in order to replace the angels that defe ...more
Quentin Crisp
Dec 14, 2016 is currently reading it
I'm in the middle of this one. I bought it for the Proslogion, of course, but have found De Grammatico perhaps, in some ways, the most limpid work so far. The works within are translated by different authors. Sometimes the text is impenetrable, and I know enough about translation to have an idea that this is often the translator's fault. Grrrr. I am fairly sure that the translation got worse when I started on the pieces translated by Ralph McInerny. I very rarely write in books, but was so annoy ...more
Aug 27, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Throughout the Middle Ages priests and theologians pondered the great questions about the Christian faith and this is a compilation one of the major thinkers of the time. The Major Works of Anselm of Canterbury brings together all of the important works—and some fragments of miscellaneous writing—of this Doctor of the Church on numerous issues to make sense of his faith.

Containing 11 works, this volume explores such questions as relating to the Christian faith. However except for Anselm’s first
The rating and review concern the edition rather than the work. Oxford has done a service by assembling all these texts in one volume. There is a catch. The translations were done by different translators, making for some stylistic unevenness. Also, the introduction is fairly cursory, and the texts themselves could use a few more explanatory notes.
Jun 03, 2008 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: soteriology
I am reading only one book out of this collection of Anselm's works, Cur Deus Homo, Why God Became Man. This book tackles why God and God alone had "pitch his tent among us" to save us. I have heard Sproul mention it before as great reading and was reminded of it thinking about Charles Finney and his views on the atonement (moral government theory) and some of the the other theories on the atonement.
Jacob Aitken
Indispensable reading. His discussions of the ontological argument, free will, and satisfaction have developed our psyche in ways we probably aren't aware of.

While we may reject his ontological argument, given the Platonic parameters of the day, it was fairly unremarkable. The Pros- and Monologion make for good devotional reading.

Some may balk at his feudal presuppositions regarding substitution, but it's hard to ignore the larger point.
Brent McCulley
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Excellent; was so great to go through this collection of Anselm's major works and supplement my theological knowledge of of the medieval era and grasp trends of medieval theological thought. Some were just fantastic to finally read first hand like "Cur Deus Homo," the Monologian and Proslogian. Most of the translations are readable and accessible. This will remain on my shelf as a constant reference book in my theological library. Highly recommended.
Joe Rigney
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anselm is not as well known as he should be. Try this: Do things exist (in any sense) before God makes them (or intends to make them)? Are there things which God does not make? Not easy questions, and Anselm is great on them.
Jeremy Sienkiewicz
Mindblowing! The way to understand Christ, God and the World.
I read part of this, I probably won't pick it back up for a very very long time.
W. Littlejohn
Jan 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whatever your final assessment of them, Anselm's Cur Deus Homo and Proslogion are classics for a reason.
Kara Slade
May 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
YES on the Incarnation, but not so much on the atonement theory...substitution is not my thing. Either way, though, it's a clear translation.
Jan 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anselm beautifully models how philosophical theology should be done: longing to think God’s thoughts after Him as an act of worship.
Flynn Evans
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A necessary read for understanding medieval theology at its finest. Anselm’s adaption of Augustinian thought and probing of the deepest philosophical and religious questions of his day make his works most intriguing, and the applicability of his insights is certainly not without in 21st century theological disputes either.
I only read the proslogium. I read it in college.

I'm neither catholic nor christian, but I felt like the proslogium, an ontological proof for god's existence, was the only piece of theology that was worth much to me that year.
Trey Kennedy
Proslogion is an amazing work, especially in understanding God, as far as we can. “Greater than anything that can be thought.” I remember one member of our seminar saying “I want to argue against this, but I can’t. Truly a marvelous work!
Mary Taylor
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have been reading this as part of my daily bible study,prayer practice. I found it interesting ,but have to find the main points through lots of repeating thoughts. It was fascinating to see his thought patterns from the period he was writing, so glad I kept with it.
Austin Hoffman
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read proslogion, monologion, fall of the devil, why God became man. Really good.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Contents of the volume are listed at the end of my review.

Most people probably read this book either for the Proslogion or Cur Deus Homo. I bought it for both, but with a bit more interest in the latter. I discovered, however, that I prefer the Monologion to the Proslogion. The ontological argument may be one of Anselm's most original contributions to philosophy, but I find it less convincing than the cosmological argument, and he has many very interesting arguments to make and things to say els
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Philip by: Dr. Chad Van Dixhoorn
So far I have only read Cur Deus Homo (Why God Became Man), which is Anselm's work specifically addressing questions surrounding the incarnation of Christ. However, he also deals with issues concerning Christ’s atonement, God’s decrees, and the fall of angels and humanity. He uses a dialogue method, and heavily stresses the use of logic and rational thinking in dealing with such questions, which often results in theological speculation concerning things which Scripture may not be explicit about. ...more
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
This collection of St Anselm's writings is, to say the least, dense. St Anselm was , very obviously, a practised logician, and as such the lines of his reasoning can be difficult to follow. That being said, if you have the time, energy, and interest in reading through a logical proof of the existence of God, a defence of the Roman use of the filioque in the Nicean Creed, and any number of other religious debates and doctrines, you couldn't ask for a better teacher. St Anselm himself, in the prol ...more
Micah Scelsi
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not the easiest read and not all of the works are that great or clear. Still amazing the thought of 1000 years ago is still pretty much spot on with how reason can explain many of the mysteries of Christianity. Reader older works is the best way not to fall victim of the modern concept that newer is better (and hence people in previous time were stupid). People in the past were just as smart if not smarter than people today. People today just have the advantage of more widespread education and t ...more
I liked different books in this book more than others. I thought the Monologion had a real nice progression, building from a neutral blank into a reasoned argument for Christianity, even though I can't imagine any non-Christian actually being convinced by any of it as it presumes too much of what it ought to prove. What I most disliked was Anselm's Trinitarian arguments, which came off as the most perfect example of what a "tautology" is.

Not bad though. Check another name off my theology to-do l
Rick Davis
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"For I do not seek to understand so that I may believe; but I believe so that I may understand. For I believe this also, that unless I believe, I shall not understand."

It goes without saying that Anselm has been greatly influential in Western Christian thought and philosophy. Deep insight on the Trinity, some great thoughts on free will, foreknowledge, and predestination, clear explication of the atonement, an interesting excursus on the filioque clause in the Nicene Creed, and many little gems
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Why God Become Man" and "On the Virgin Conception and Original Sin" are two works that I have encountered in this first pass of Anselm's work. The relevance of these theological development can be directly felt even in today's mainline Christian traditions. Anselm's starting point was Christian faith, fortified and explained by reasoning. It is apologetics for faith through reason. Many segments are repetitive and convoluted (possibly because of this reader's own limitations), while certain key ...more
Feb 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anselm is one of what I would call responsible theologians. That is, he very seriously approaches the claims of his faith with an eye toward justifying them philosophically. While I ultimately don't agree with his beliefs, Anselm's work is foundational in the study of the Philosophy of Religion.
John Yelverton
Nov 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anselm's ontological argument for the existence of God is one of the most interesting and discussed arguments in theology. Every Christian should at least read this in order to understand what many people are talking about.
I am reading "Why God Became Man." It certainly helps in understanding the need and necessity of atonement for sin. Also puts forth many questions that are not asked today.
May 04, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although this is a really good book, it's one of those that you read a page at a time otherwise your head explodes.
Jay D
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
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Saint Anselm of Canterbury (c. 1033 - 1109), also called Anselm of Aosta after his birthplace and Anselm of Bec after his monastery, was a Benedictine monk, philosopher, and prelate of the Church, who held the office of Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109. Called the founder of scholasticism, he has been a major influence in Western theology and is famous as the originator of the ontologica ...more

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