Reading Anselm: Context and Criticism

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Saturday, 19 February 2011

Recent Publications - February 2011 - Updated


L. Mackey, Faith in Order: Natural Theology in the Augustinian Tradition, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto 2011.
Publisher's blurb: From its first statement by Augustine, through its confirmation by Anselm and its spiritualization by Bonaventure, to its final and fundamental formulation by Duns Scotus, the Augustinian idea of order is clearly discernible in the characteristic proofs of God’s existence offered by these philosopher-theologians. Not without reason, since for all of them the being of God is the guarantor – origin, measure, and end – of the order of the cosmos. It is, moreover, the distinctive manner in which each of them defines the problem of theistic proof that reveals most perspicuously the way he conceives the idea of order that informs it. Their several proofs are their individual ways of appropriating their common heritage.
In this posthumous work, Louis Mackey sketches the adventures of the idea of order in the Augustinian tradition. Beginning with the proposition that not all who prove the existence of God are proving the same thing, nor do they understand the proof in the same way, Mackey shows how, even within the bounds of the Augustinian tradition, modes of proof and conceptions of what is to be proven can vary when questioned from within, as by Anselm’s fool, or challenged from without by the philosophy of Aristotle.


C.H. Conn, 'Anselmian Spacetime: Omnipresence and the Created Order' in Heythrop Journal, 52 (2011) 260-270.
Abstract: For Anselm, the attribute of omnipresence is not merely concerned with where God exists, but with where and when God exists. His account of this attribute thus precipitates a discourse on the nature of space and time: how they are related to God, to one another, and to the rest of the created order. In the course of this analysis Anselm articulates a number of positions which are generally thought to be the sole possession of modernity. In Part One of what follows I argue, first, that Anselm provides us with an analysis of objects which have both spatial and temporal parts, and second, that he provides us with a clear distinction between those objects which persist by enduring through time in their entirety and those which persist by being temporally extended. In Part Two I argue that Anselm's analysis of omnipresence is consciously informed by a conception of spacetime, according to which space and time form a single, four-dimensional manifold in which objects both persist and move.

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