Anselmus’s understanding of God and philosophy of religion

Anselmus’s understanding of God and philosophy of religion

It is possible to say that Anselmus basically adopted Platonic views. However, his ideas about Plato were often obtained through secondary sources. It is clear that Augustine had an important influence on this issue. At that time, two separate Timaios translations, translated by Calcidius or Cicero, were circulating, and Anselmus probably had the opportunity to read these translations.

Anselmus, like the average medieval philosopher, thought that the sources of human knowledge were intelligence and faith. Anselmus, however, was a student of Lanfranc and said that faith should be the beginning of an entire human investigation. In his work Proslogion, where he also demonstrated the proof of the famous God, which we will see a little later, he says:  “I do not want to understand because I believe; but I believe so I can understand. Because I also believe that I will not understand  unless I do. ” (Anselmus, Proslogion, I:“ Neque enim quaero intelligere ut credam, sed credo ut intelligam ”)

In proposing this approach, it is necessary to assume that Anselmus knows the difference between philosophy and theology. However, he believed that faith would only become competent as a result of mental work and effort. In other words, Anselmus did not intend to replace faith with reason. The understanding built on this approach, after a while, spontaneously reveals the natural theology in Anselmus.

Natural theology expresses an understanding of God that can be grasped through natural processes of reasoning rather than revelation.

Of course, at the beginning and end of this theology, God himself is both a principle and a purpose. What is important for him is the establishment of faith and of dogma in consequence. After this foundation phase, reason can attempt to understand the mysteries and secrets of the object of faith through “rationes necessariae“. Although it is not possible to solve all of these mysteries, it is possible to understand expressions like Trinitas. Perhaps this is why he was given the name Augustinus II during the Middle Ages.

Like other dialecticists of the period, Anselmus, who did not weigh the faith from logical judgments, has an authentic God’s proof that he developed with the support of Augustine. In fact, Anselmus has more than one proof of God. Some historians of philosophy think that three of them are noteworthy.

Please look:

–  Anselm’s proofs of God
–  Universals What’s the debate?

Prepared by:  Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source:  Ömer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Department of Sociology 1st Grade Giriş Introduction to Philosophy ”and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade Tarihi History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook