Category Archives: 11th Century

Peter Abelard on God’s Actions (I)

Peter Abelard (1079-1142), working with certain Aristotelian assumptions about metaphysics and logic, makes an argument that God, although omnipotent, cannot do anything other than what He actually does do, and cannot omit doing anything which He actually does omit doing. … Continue reading

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William the Conqueror (1028-1087)

William, the Duke of Normandy under whose rule the Norman Conquest of England occurred in the year of the Lord’s incarnation 1066, was born into a very troubled social and political situation and almost did not make it through his … Continue reading

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The Cluniac Monastic Movement

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Humbert of Silva Candida, Cardinal (ca. 1015-1061)

Little seems to be known of the life of this important figure of the eleventh century beyond his written contributions to several important controversies. He was born sometime around the turn of the millennium, and as a young man became … Continue reading

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Pope Nicholas II (r. 1058-1061)

Originally known as Gerard, Nicholas II was born somewhere around the year of the Lord’s incarnation 1010. Like many important men of his age, Nicholas was a reformer in the monastic sense. That is, he was attempting to counter the … Continue reading

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Paschal II, Pope (r. 1099-1118)

The successor of Pope Urban II, Paschal II was, like Urban, a reformer of the Gregorian party (led by Pope Gregory VII). Sometimes described as paradoxically timid and inflexible, Paschal managed to dispose of a series of anti-popes (Theoderic, Albert, … Continue reading

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Believe in Order to Understand (II)

St. Anselm again: But suppose that–on the ground that he cannot understand it in God and does not see any instance of it in other things–[my opponent] deies that something one can be called something three and that something three … Continue reading

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Believe in Order to Understand (I)

St. Anselm follows many of the Church Fathers in urging that an obstinate heretic should not be replied to with Scripture, for his heresy proves that he either does not believe Scripture or else interprets it perversely.:”(“The Incarnation of the … Continue reading

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St. Anselm on Radical Nominalism

Some variety of realism seems inescapably to be true. Regarding whether each Person of the Trinity is a “thing” (res), St. Anselm points out several analogies against the nominalist Roscellin of Compiegne, who asserted (apparently without much thought) that the … Continue reading

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St. Anselm on Faith and Understanding

A beautiful exhortation from one of the greatest faithful intellects the Church has yet seen: But before I examine this question I will say something to curb the presumption of those who, with blasphemous rashness and on the ground that … Continue reading

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