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The History of Medieval Philosophy

Selected Figures of Scholastic Tradition I


Ladislav Tkáčik

Calling an epoch Middle Age already involves some sort of judgment. But Middle Ages represent a historic period, in which the identity was established, which was denied by the renaissance, modern world and which however is now being discovered again in its sense and beauty. It is a period in which a co-existence between faith and intellect, between ecclesiastical and profane culture was possible. It was a varied living space in which philosophy, mystique and practice could exist side by side. It is a world which is lost today and which we can get a hold of again only by intellectual appropriation.


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6. Anselm of Canterbury


  The end of 8th and the whole of the 9th century was a period of extensive cultural renewal and rich literary production. Old texts were evaluated and rewritten, as were commentaries, encyclopaedias and glosses. It could be said that this period left a whole Latin literary corpus. The nature of the literature of the 10th century is already diff erent. It is not organically related to the school sys- tem nor to the evaluation of the old anymore. Its charac- teristics are self-confi dence and self-refl ection. Despite the fact that the 11th century is often over- looked as a  transitional century between the 10th cen- tury Ottonian Renaissance and the signifi cant 12th cen- tury, from a philosophical point of view, we have to pay attention to it and take a closer examination of some of its scholars.   62 An important scholar of the 11th century was Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) who is rightfully considered to be the “father of scholastics” and, after Eriugena, was the fi rst real philosopher of the Middle Ages. Anselm was the most important student of Lanfranc in a prominent monastic school in Bec and later he became its prior. From 1093, Anselm was the archbishop of Canterbury. Anselm formulated his understanding of the relation between faith and intellect in a  statement that faith searches for understanding (“fi des quaerns intellectum”). In an introduction to a famous script Proslogion (Speech to You), Anselm claims that he does not need intellect in order to believe but...

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