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37

The Prayers and Meditations of St. Anselm with the Proslogion

Author(s)
Published
31/05/1973

Publisher writes

Mostly written between 1070 and 1080, before he became Archbishop of Canterbury, the prayers and meditations of Anselm of Aosta created a tradition of intimate, intensely personal devotional works written in subtle and theologically daring prose. While the "Prayer to God" is based on the "Lord's Prayer", the "Prayer to Christ" is inspired by ardent private emotion and other prayers invest saints with individual attributes, with John the Baptist as the friend, Peter as the shepherd and Mary Magdalene as the forgiving lover, among many others. The meditations include a searching exploration of the state of the soul and a lament on the loss of purity, and the "Proslogion" discusses the mysteries of faith. With their bright imagery, beautiful language and highly original thought, the works of Anselm have secured a lasting place in both religious and secular literature.

Author Information

Saint Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, Benedicta Ward

Translated and with an introduction by Benedicta Ward with a foreword by R. W. Southern

Judges' and contributors' comments

Peter Forster: St Anselm set out in his Proslogion the ‘ontological argument’ for God’s existence.  If by God we mean ‘that then which nothing greater can be conceived’, then existence must be part of his perfection.  It has vexed, teased and delighted philosophers of religion ever since, and had a particular influence on Karl Barth.

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