Letters of Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury: Volume I

ISBN : 9780199697168

Samu Niskanen
624 Pages
138 x 216 mm
Pub date
Apr 2019
Oxford Medieval Texts
Send mail
  • A new critical edition, established from almost thirty manuscripts
  • Offers an English translation of the letters from Anselm's Norman years, and a detailed commentary offering fresh insights into the context of individual letters
  • Improves our understanding of Anselm's Norman years
  • Details the evolution of the text and its reception up to c. 1140

St Anselm (d. 1109) is the most interesting theologian and philosopher of his time. In many respects, his career encapsulates the principal intellectual, religious, and political developments of high medieval Europe. In 1060, Anselm took monastic vows at the abbey of Bec, a reformist community in Normandy, where he was soon promoted to the office of prior and subsequently elected abbot. In 1093 he was elected archbishop of Canterbury, and became a dynamic representative of the new papal claims for the freedom of the Church from the control of lay rulers. Throughout, he wrote theological and spiritual treatises which still resonate today.
Anselm was also an avid letter-writer, and his correspondence is one of our best testimonies to an active, cosmopolitan, and cultured life in the Middle Ages. His almost 500 surviving letters represent the man. They are an acute witness to his mind and action, illuminating his monastic teaching, intellectual journey, leadership, and positions respective to rivalries within the church and between ecclesiastical and lay rulers. The first volume of this new critical edition of Anselm's letters comprises his correspondence, 148 letters, from his Norman years. The letters demonstrate at first-hand how he emerged as a respected monastic leader, a distinguished author, and a powerful influence in Normandy with networks in France and England.
The present volume includes a new critical edition, established from almost thirty manuscripts, and an English translation of the letters from Anselm's Norman years. A detailed commentary accompanies the text. The critical apparatus provides a means of studying the letters' reception up to c. 1140. The introduction comprises a systematic analysis of the text's transmission from Anselm and his followers to the present day, and a fresh account of his life before Canterbury.


List of Figures, Tables, and Maps
Abbreviated References
The Letters

About the author: 

Edited by Samu Niskanen, Associate Professor of Medieval History, University of Helsinki
Samu Niskanen is Associate Professor of Medieval History at the University of Helsinki, his alma mater. He is the Principal Investigator of the project Medieval Publishing from c. 1000 to 1500, funded by the European Research Council. His research is mainly concerned with medieval texts: their publication, transmission, and reception. His previous books include The Letter Collections of Anselm of Canterbury (2011) and the collaborative edition Ralph von Battle: Dialoge zur philosophischen Theologie (2015).

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.