9_Anselm and Aquinas

9_Anselm and Aquinas - Anselm and Aquinas Medieval...

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Anselm and Aquinas Medieval Theologians in the Catholic/Western Church
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Anselm 1032-1109 Life Born in Italy Educated in France Archbishop of Canterbury in England Considered himself a “disciple” of Augustine Most influential extant works: Proslogion Cur Deus Homo
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Anselm’s starting point for theological reflection: “I do not seek to understand in order to believe but I believe in order to understand.” Emphasized reason over citing authorities as the proper method in dealing with theological problems.
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Proslogion Anselm’s Ontological Argument for the Existence of God Begins with a reflection on Psalm 14:1 – “The Fool has said in his heart that there is no God.” The fool apparently has a conception of God in his or her own mind, which he or she denies to actually exist. Anselm wants to establish the logical necessity of the existence of God. Thus this person is a fool because he or she does not follow out the logic of his or her belief in his or her own mind. He or she is no fool if God is just a thought.
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Anselm’s argument: Premise – “God is something which nothing greater can be thought.” It is greater to exist in reality than to exist in the understanding. Suppose “something which nothing greater can be thought” existed only in the understanding. Then it would be possible to think of something greater, namely that being existing in reality. Therefore “something which nothing greater can be thought” must exist in reality and in the understanding. God is something which nothing greater can be
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This note was uploaded on 04/14/2008 for the course REL 1350 taught by Professor Holleyman during the Spring '07 term at Baylor.

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9_Anselm and Aquinas - Anselm and Aquinas Medieval...

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