Reading Anselm's Proslogion
The History of Anselm's Argument and its Significance Today
Anselm’s Proslogion has sparked controversy from the time it was written (c.1077) to the present day. Attempts to provide definitive accounts of its argument have led to a wide and contradictory variety of interpretations. In this book, Ian Logan goes back to basics, to the Latin text of the Proslogion with an original parallel English translation, before tracing the twists and turns of this controversy. Helping us to understand how the same argument came to be regarded as based on reason alone by some and on faith alone by others, as a logically sound demonstration by its supporters and as fatally flawed by its opponents, Logan considers what Anselm is setting out to do in the Proslogion, how his argument works, and whether it is successful.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; The pre-text: the dialectical origins of Anselm's argument; The text; Commentary on the Proslogion; Anselm's defence and the Unum Argumentum; The medieval reception; The modern reception; Anselm's argument today; Conclusion: the significance of Anselm's argument; Bibliography; Index.
Ian Logan gained a first class honours degree in Theology from the University of Leeds. He was awarded a DAAD scholarship and undertook post-graduate study at both the LMU and the Philosophische Hochschule in Munich. He obtained his doctorate on Karl Rahner and Anselm of Canterbury from the University of Leeds. He is currently Senior Research Fellow and Tutor in Medieval Philosophy at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University. He has published articles on Anselm in New Blackfriars and the Saint Anselm Journal. Forthcoming articles include: an article on the development of Ms Bodley 271 in G. Gasper & H. Kohlenberger (eds), Anselm and Abelard: Investigations and Juxtapositions, being published by PIMS (2006); 'Whatever happened to Kant's ontological argument?' in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2007); 'Whoever understands this: On translating the Proslogion' in New Blackfriars (2008).
’... provides a much needed reference work for anyone wanting seriously to understand and think about the Proslogion ... he does a fine job when it comes to giving readers a sense of Anselm in his historical context.’ New Blackfriars ’...a very stimulating and thought-provoking study. Any Anselm scholar”historians, philosophers and theologians alike”will profit from reading it. It is rich in insights and lucidly written throughout; the reasoning is always clear.’ The Saint Anselm Journal ’Logan's book offers a clearly argued, interesting, historically sensitive reading of Anselm's Proslogion. ... gives the reader a sense of the many and varied reactions to the Proslogion.’ Speculum ’... it is undeniable that Logan has written a history of Anselm’s argument that serves as a foundation for future studies to build upon. ... Logan’s work is a valuable contribution to medieval studies which corrects many misunderstandings and caricatures of Anselm that deserve to be exposed. ... Moreover, Logan’s work is a fine introduction to the theology and logic of the Proslogion as well as a needed analysis of its reception since the Middle Ages.’ Journal of Theological Studies