- Sally N. Vaughn, University of Houston, USA
- Series : The Archbishops of Canterbury Series
St Anselm's archiepiscopal career, 1093-1109, spanned the reigns of two kings: William Rufus and the early years of Henry I. As the second archbishop of Canterbury after the Norman Conquest, Anselm strove to extend the reforms of his teacher and mentor at Bec, and his predecessor at Canterbury, Archbishop Lanfranc.
Exploring Anselm's thirty years as Prior and Abbot of the large, rich, Norman monastery of Bec, and teacher in its school, this book notes the wealth of experiences which prepared Anselm for his archiepiscopal career--in particular Bec's missionary attitude toward England. Sally Vaughn examines Anselm's intellectual strengths as a teacher, philosopher and theologian: exploring his highly regarded theological texts, including his popular Prayers and Meditations, and how his statesmanship was influenced as he dealt with conflict with the antagonistic King William Rufus. Vaughn argues that Rufus's death influenced Anselm's rivalry with King Henry I and fostered a more subdued and civil conflict between Anselm and Henry which ended with cooperation between king and archbishop at the end of Anselm's life. King and archbishop became‘yoked together as two oxen pulling the plow of the church through the land of England’. Anselm’s final years at the pinnacle of power reveal a superb administrator over Canterbury and Primate over the churches of all Britain, in which position his followers described him as 'Pope of another world'. The final section includes a selection of original source material including archiepiscopal letters drawn primarily from Lambeth Palace Library.
Contents: Prologue; Part 1 The Narrative: Anselm's Archiepiscopate: Introduction: Anselm's story through his letters in Lambeth 59; The Bec background: a missionary mentality; Anselm's election: primatial theory; An old sheep yoked to a wild bull: Anselm and King William Rufus; Interlude: Anselm in exile and the death of a king; Two oxen pulling the plow of the Church through the land of England: Archbishop Anselm and King Henry I; Patriarch of another world: the primacy at its height and the problem of York. Part II Illustrative Sources: Anselm's Letters from Lambeth 59; Select bibliography; Index.
About the Author: Sally N. Vaughn has published a large number of articles-some 15, with 2 more now in press-- and three books concerning St. Anselm: 1. The Abbey of Bec and the Anglo-Norman State, in 1981; 2. Anselm of Bec and Robert of Meulan: The Innocence of the Dove and the Wisdom of the Serpent, 1987; and St. Anselm and the Handmaidens of God: A Study of Anselm's Correspondence with Women, 2002. The second book won the John Ben Snow Prize of the Conference on British Studies.
Reviews: Vaughn’s latest contribution to Anselm’s dramatic role in English Church history is highly recommended. It is extremely well-written and researched, and includes many of Anselm’s most important letters in both English and Latin.'
Catholic Books Review
'Vaughn’s work will stand as an excellent discussion of Anselm’s career for general readers and for students, who will benefit especially from the inclusion of the translated letters.'
'Vaughn’s revision not only builds on the previous work of [Southern] but also incorporates the growing body of literature on the historical figures with whom Anselm was engaged… [Vaughn] demonstrates that Anselm was an influential politician and administrator; a formidable and at times gifted administrator/governor, he shaped the political landscape of late eleventh- and early twelfth-century England.'
'… an admirable modern approach to a twelfth-century scholar-monk; and combined with, rather than opposed to, the insight of Sir Richard Southern, it can be of use in the ongoing understanding of the foremost scholar of the Middle Ages.'
Journal of Theological Studies
‘Vaughn has written an exciting study of the role that Bec played in Anselm’s career as the Archbishop of Canterbury … as Vaughn has convincingly demonstrated, the right order for Normandy and England was the result of a scripturally inspired view of history in which each reenactment in the present embodied a more perfect state of affairs. In addition to the usual apparatus that one would expect in a work of this kind, Vaughn supplies the reader with translations of primary sources and documents for each of the book’s seven chapters. … I strongly encourage the serious reader to delve into Anselm’s world and his vision of history. When so much about contemporary politics is vainglory disguised as altruism, the reader, including the politicians among us, have much to learn from Anselm’s Other-centered exercise of power.’
American Benedictine Review
'… sure to stimulate lively discussion.'
‘…it behoves every student of Anselm’s career as prior, abbot and archbishop to familiarise herself or himself with Vaughn’s understanding of her hero.’
Journal of Ecclesiastical History
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