Anselm of Canterbury April 21, 2016 09:46

Anselm - Cur Deus Homo (Book)A new book, just in time for the traditional Feast of St. Anselm of Canterbury: A small, affordable edition of Anselm's famous Cur Deus Homo, a meditation on the Incarnation and the coherence of the Cross. This modern translation, by professor of medieval philosophy Jasper Hopkins, is a pleasure to read.

Anselm writes to show "unbelievers" (very likely Jewish thinkers) that the Incarnation and the Cross are neither incoherent nor unbefitting of God: God lived and died as a human in order to pay the debt of justice and obedience that humankind owed by its very nature, but which humankind had not and could not pay being burdened with past sins and already owing all future obedience.This argument, in its essence, is one not of suffering but of self-offering love.

Anselm wishes to show that, in a contingent way, they might even be thought of as "necessary." He does not claim that God operates under such a necessity, but that within the order of things that God has established, and which even the "unbeliever" could agree to, the Incarnation and the Cross have their fitting and compelling place. For Anselm, this sort of reasoned argument was itself an exercise in prayer. He passed to his reward 907 years ago today.