cosponsored by the Medieval Studies Workshop
The meaning of Anselm’s famous ‘sola ratione’ or ‘by reason alone’ has been the subject of much debate. Is it a principle of reason or a principle of faith? This lecture will argue that the sola ratione instead operates as a poetical principle in Anselm’s work at large, steering his various writings –treatises, meditations, prayers, and letters – into a comprehensive oeuvre. As a result of this poetic use of sola ratione, his work is characterized by a certain playfulness. However lofty questions of divine absence and presence may be, the sola ratione guarantees that meditating about questions of faith and reason keeps within the boundaries of a ‘divina commedia’ of sorts.