Anselm of Canterbury°

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ANSELM OF CANTERBURY ° (c. 1033–1109), abbot of Bec (Normandy) from 1078 and archbishop of Canterbury from 1093; theologian and philosopher, perhaps canonized by the Catholic Church though there is some uncertainty about this. The Jew appears as the imaginary adversary in his most important work Cur Deus Homo, which is about the theology of atonement. The composition may have been influenced by the Judeo-Christian dialogue which Gilbert *Crispin had dedicated to him. He was among the church reformers whose opposition to William ii (Rufus) may have been stimulated by the king's reputed friendliness to the Jews. Anselm favored Christian missionary activities among the Jews. In a letter he sent to two English clerics Anselm commends to them a certain Robert and his family who had recently been converted, asking them to assist him "so that he should not suffer from want, but should rejoice that he has left perfidy for the true faith."


N.F. Cantor, Church, Kingship and Lay Investiture in England 10891135 (1958), 126ff.; R.W. Southern, St. Anselm (Eng., 1959, 19902), 88ff. add. bibliography: Eadmer, Vita Anselmi, ed. and tr. R.W. Southern (1962).

[Bernhard Blumenkranz /

Shimon Gibson (2nd ed.)]