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Archbishop Anselm 1093-1109: Bec Missionary, Canterbury Primate, Patriarch of Another World.

ARCHBISHOP ANSELM 1093-1109: BEC MISSIONARY, CANTERBURY PRIMATE, PATRIARCH OF ANOTHER WORLD. By Sally N. Vaughn. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012. Pp. xxi + 287. $ 99.95.

In the past 50 years Anselm of Canterbury has been a subject of extensive research. In 1963 R. W. Southern completed his first monograph on Anselm (St. Anselm and His Biographer) only to rework his interpretation in his magisterial St. Anselm: A Portrait in a Landscape (1992). Published between these two works is Vaughn's first monograph, Anselm of Bec and Robert of Meulan: The Innocence of the Dove and the Wisdom of the Serpent (1987), which argued--in response to Southern's first work--that Anselm was a more accomplished statesman/politician than Southern allowed. Aspects of V.'s argument were incorporated into Southern's subsequent St. Anselm: A Portrait in a Landscape (1990). V.'s present work continues this enriching debate with Southern (now deceased) about Anselm by focusing on his career as archbishop. V.'s revision not only builds on the previous work of both scholars but also incorporates the growing body of literature on the historical figures with whom Anselm was engaged.

The volume is divided into two parts: part 1 containing seven chapters (3-166) that establish the basic narrative of Anselm's archiepiscopal career; and part 2 consisting of seven chapters (169-267) that provide extensive documentary evidence for part 1 (hereafter I refer to the chapters of part 2 as appendixes). Part 1 concentrates on Anselm's extensive career as a churchman and statesman, beginning in chapter 1 with an analysis of previous literature and establishing the sources used to reconstruct Anselm's political career. Of great importance is the collection of letters contained in the manuscript Lambeth 59. V. argues that this manuscript perhaps contains Anselm's own private collection of letters (V. reproduces three folios of Lambeth 59 [170-72]). Chapter 2 on Anselm's career at Bec argues that this abbey is key to interpreting Anselm's later career at Canterbury, particularly in light of the "missionary mentality" that pervaded Bec. Anselm's subsequent governance of Canterbury is thus grounded in the training he received at Bec. Chapter 3 treats Anselm's "primatial theory"--i.e., his political philosophy supporting Canterbury's political primacy--as grounded in his training at Bec and influenced by Lanfranc. Chapter 4 considers the implications of Anselm's primatial theory as it was instantiated in England during the reign of King William Rufus. Anselm argued for a theory of corulers that was rejected by the crown. Chapter 5 covers some of the implications of Anselm's political theory analyzing in detail the period of his exile and the death of Rufus. Chapter 6, on Anselm's relationship to the subsequent monarch, King Henry I, argues that the somewhat insecure Henry chose to reconcile with Anselm, bringing to fruition Anselm's view of the king of England and the archbishop of Canterbury as corulers of England (with the sole exception of the Church of York). The final chapter of part 1, through an analysis of Anselm's governance of England as well as his influence abroad, considers the implications of his newly achieved political power.

The seven appendixes of part 2 provide primary documentation in support of the corresponding chapters in part 1. Appendix 1 contains images of Lambeth 59, while the subsequent appendixes contain letters that provide documentary evidence in support of the broader argument. The appendixes present the Latin text (taken from Schmitt's Opera Omnia of Anselm's works) of each letter as well as a fresh English translation. In total, the appendixes reproduce 35 of Anselm's letters and an excerpt from Gilbert of Crispin's Vita Herluini (discussed in chap. 2).

Regarding the debate between Southern and V., Southern often relied on Eadmer's portrayal of Anselm as a theologian who despised involvement with the secular world and was not particularly adept at navigating it. But V. here conclusively 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.


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Author:Slotemaker, John T.
Publication:Theological Studies
Article Type:Book review
Date:Sep 1, 2013
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