St- Anselm’s Proslogium,
Read “The Life and Times of St- Anselm” in William H- Shannon, Anselm: The Joy of Faith (New York: Crossroads, 1999) pp- 15-32-
Read “God: Contemplating the Divine with St- Anselm,” pp- 77-110-
Read St- Anselm’s Proslogium, chapters 14.
Answer the following questions
1- According to Shannon, is Anselm trying to prove the faith through his argument for God? Why or why not? What does reason/philosophical
thinking bring to faith?
2- Read the argument in Anselm’s text in the Proslogium- What does Anselm do in the first chapter of that great work? To Whom is it addressed and
to Whom does Anselm speak?
3- What does Anselm say about the human condition in that opening chapter? What do we long for? And how are we to get it?
4- What does Anselm ask God for at the end of this chapter? What happens, according to Anselm, if we do not believe? And Where does
understanding come from?
5- At the beginning of chapter 2, Anselm offers his definition of God- What is this?
6- Why does Anselm think that God cannot be thought not to exist?
7- What is unique about God that God cannot be thought not to exist- We can think of a unicorn and not think that it must exist- We can think of the
pot of gold at the end of a rainbow and know it doesn’t exist- Why can we not think of God Without thinking of God’s existence?
8- In chapter 4 of the Proslogium, Anselm says there is a difference between understanding the concept of God (as that than Which no greater can
be thought) and the entity itself (the being of God)- He says we can understand the concept and think of it as not existing, but not the entity itself.
Why do you think that is the case?
9- Anselm concludes chapter 4 With a prayer of thanksgiving- 80, he starts With pray beginning for understanding from God and he concludes With a
prayer thanking God for understanding? How, then, does faith arrive at understanding according to Anselm? What is it that leads us from the
thought of the concept to the understanding of the entity itself?
10- In your own words, summarize Anselm’s argument for God’s existence-