FAITH AND REASON
- As did Augustine, Anselm believed that faith and reason were two sources of human
- Faith must be the starting point in the search for truth. "For I do not seek to
understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order that I may
understand." Proslogion, Chapter One. So-called fidens quarens intellectum,
faith [the starting point] seeking understanding.
- Anselm upheld the primacy of faith in the intellectual life, and refused to subordinate
Scripture to reason or dialectics, as was the practice of some at this time. For example,
Berengar of Tours (c1000-1088): "Unless a man is stupidly blind, he will not contest
that in the search for truth reason is undoubtedly the best guide. It is characteristic of
a great mind always to have recourse to dialectics." De Sacra Coena adversus
Lanfrancum. (Dialectics in the Aristotelian sense is a part of logic which teaches the
rules of the probable, as opposed to the necessary. In the MA, dialectics was often
identified with logic itself.) Berengar denied transubstantiation of the Eucharist on the
basis of dialectics.
- Anselm did not believe that a human could comprehend the mysteries of faith (otherwise
they would not be mysteries), but he is confident that we could give necessary reasons for
them. He thought it possible to prove the necessity of the Trinity and the Incarnation. He
has a very high view of the possibilities of reason.