read online pdf St. Anselm: A Portrait in a Landscape By Richard W. Southern –

In This Magisterial Account Of The Life And Work Of St Anselm, Now In Paperback, Sir Richard Southern Provides A Study In Depth Of One Of The Most Fascinating Minds In Christian History

2 thoughts on “St. Anselm: A Portrait in a Landscape

  1. Samuel J. Parkinson Samuel J. Parkinson says:

    This book is a masterpiece, one of the finest biographies I have ever read, and by one of the truly great scholars of medieval history.Southern worked on Anselm for than forty years, and when he came to revise his earlier book, St Anselm and his biographer , this book was the result.It s a sensitive portrait that manages to depict the gentle, otherworldly, yet prodigiously brilliant Anselm in a way no one else has done Indeed, partly because of the quality of the sources, and partly because of Southern s understanding, I suspect this is the best biography of any European after Augustine and before the thirteenth Century that it is possible to write Biography of people from this period tends to be dry and factual, because the sources don t let you do anything else But at the end of this book, you feel like you know Anselm as a friend.Southern is particularly good at helping the reader get inside Anselm s warm and earnest faith, at understanding that and the other aspects of Anselm s world that are largely lost to most modern readers It s hard to imagine any recent historian managing such an effective job of getting inside a pious medieval mind.That s great, because Anselm is incredibly warm, emotional, tranquil, gentle and thoughtful, a compelling character both now and to his contemporaries and yet his strange weaknesses as Archbishop made him hard to understand even in his own day.Southern is also a joy to read Like Anselm himself, he writes with beauty and clarity and feeling It s a treat.The qualification is that this is serious history Southern does not hide his wrestling with the sources, with details of Anselm s philosophy and theology, or the difficulties of understanding now lost cultures and mindsets So it is not a quick read It s surprisingly easy for a book that does that, but nonetheless one for the historical enthusiast If that is you, then this feels like a historical masterclass, working through problems with one of the most brilliant medievalists of the Twentieth Century.This is the book that got me started reading Anselm, journal articles about him, other recent books about him But I haven t read anything else, bar Anselm s own writings, that give anything like the insight into the man that this does.

  2. linnea s. turner linnea s. turner says:

    Beautifully written with many interesting insights Occasionally it seemed as if Southern wandered into the weeds and included very detailed material that would have been better in an appendix or notes.