Master Class on Anselm of Canterbury: Reason, Logic, and Meditation

Nov 9 2015 3:30—6:30pm
Swift Hall, Common Room
1025 E 58th St,
Chicago, IL 60637
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Burcht Pranger

University of Amsterdam



Burcht Pranger (University of Amsterdam)


Open to current University of Chicago students. Dinner will be served. Readings will be provided for all participants. Others interested in attending, please contact us.

This master class seminar will cover three major works by Anselm of Canterbury: Proslogion, Cur deus homo and theFirst Meditation. The discussion will revolve around the question: how to read Anselm properly and comprehensively? Most often Anselm’s discourse in his various works is compartmentalized into either rational, theological or meditative text blocks. By focusing on texts that differ as to their outlook, we will try at once to honor the differences in discourse while at the same time tracing the various turns and moves Anselm makes both in argumentation and meditation. So doing, it will become clear that, where the various types may differ and are entitled to their independence, Anselm’s rhetorical moves and turns will prove to be similar to each other to the point of telling us something comprehensive about his way of writing and reading.


Anselm of Canterbury

  • Proslogion, chapters 1-15, 26.
  • Cur deus homo, Preface, book I, chapters 1,2, 7,21, 25;  Book II, chapters 17, 18, 19.
  • First Meditation

M.B. Pranger

  • The Artificiality of Christianity: Essays on the Poetics of Monasticism (Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2003); Introduction to Part Two: ‘Density.’

Burcht Pranger is Professor Emeritus in the History of Christianity at the University of Amsterdam and, at present, the Thomas F. Martin St Augustine Fellow at Villanova University. He has published widely on medieval monasticism, mainly on Anselm of Canterbury and Bernard of Clairvaux. In his Artificiality of Christianity: Essays on the Poetics of Monasticism (Stanford, 2003) he discusses the work of Anselm at length. In 1994 he published a book on Bernard: Bernard of Clairvaux and the Shape of Monastic Thought: Broken Dreams.