Anselm of canterbury
|Abstract||Anselm (b. 1033; d. 1109) flourished during the period of the Norman Conquest of England (1066), the call by Pope Urban II to the First Crusade (1095), and the strident Investiture Controversy. This latter dispute pitted Popes Gregory VII, Urban II, and Paschal II against the monarchs of Europe in regard to just who had the right—whether kings or bishops—to invest bishops and archbishops with their ecclesiastical offices. It is not surprising that R. W. Southern, Anselm’s present-day biographer, speaks of Anselm’s life as covering “one of the most momentous periods of change in European history, comparable to the centuries of the Reformation or the Industrial Revolution” (1990, p. 4). Yet it is ironic that Anselm, who began as a simple monk shunning all desire for fame, should nonetheless today have become one of the most famous intellectual figures of the Middle Ages. And it is even more ironic that this judgment holds true in spite of the fact that he wrote only eleven treatises or dialogues (not to mention his three meditations, nineteen prayers, and 374 letters).|
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