lundi 26 avril 2010

St Anselm

This post will come into instalments, like the previous one.

Is this a preface or a prologue?
St Anselm of Aosta
Geographic background: Savoy
Moral sense: freedom
Family background: Candia and Burgundy
Moral sense: may a man disobey his Father?


to be continued ...


Is this a preface or a prologue?

I have frankly forgotten which of them usually comes first. This text is the first, and it contains two or three caveats.

For friends, not primarily for academic scholarship or for meeting its standards:

Wherein I am at one with an august predecessor of me as writing about St Anselm, Eadmer. It was not his Vita Sti Anselmi, but another work which I have just started reading, that is called Historia Novarum, dealing with Norman Conquest (he is an Anglo-Saxon), that began with words including these:

Hoc jgitur considerato, penes me statui ea quae sub oculis vidi vel audivi, brevitati studendo, (1)styli officio(1) commemorare, tum ut amicorum meorum me ad id (2)obnixe(2) incitantium voluntati morem geram, tum ut (3)posterorum industriae(3), si forte quid inter eos emerserit quod horum exemplo aliquo modo juvari queat, (3)parum quid muneris impendam(3).Having considered this, I set before myself to commemorate what I saw with mine eyes or heard about (?1?) with the office of a stylus (?1?) taking pains for brevity, both in order to put my working in harmony with the will of friends of mine who have (?2?)insisted on(?2?) inciting me to this, and in order to (?3?)hang something smallish onto [the load of] efforts of posterity(?3?) if perchance something shall have arisen among them which in any way can be helped about by the example of these things.


First for friends, then for perhaps posterity. Not for any canon of style, except an undetermined effort at brevity (and these writers are really much briefer than later historians, since they have less side thoughts), not for any canon of credibility or source criticism, except his own eyes and what he - he presumably means reliably - has heard about.

I start this writing with similar considerations.

Mimsy, James, you enjoyed my proposal for your birthday - was it St Anselm's day? - so this is for you!

Non-meeting of academic standards may include considerably less effort of hiding sources than now usual

which is how I went about with this other work of mine, Swedish and English, about Lithuania, linguistic and Biblical prehistory plus early history of its arisal and Catholic Conversion as a defence against the crusaders of the Teutonic Order - my own wording was indeed rare and reserved for reflections, whereas narrative went back and forth between different articles of the American Reference work Catholic Encyclopedia (1913 edition, public domain, copy-paste from New Advent online version) and of Swedish reference work Nordisk Familjebok, first edition (19 C, public domain, copy-paste from Lysator Projekt Runeberg, which has scans on page tops and wikilike transcriptions below - o boy I did some correcting of bad automatic readings, as indeed was the case when I copy-pasted above text from Eadmer into a Facebook article).

My justification is:

a) my Greek professor who quoted what he presented so as to give me the impression it was an academic saying:

  • copy one source - it is plagiarism
  • copy two sources - it is compilation
  • copy three sources - it is original work


Since each of the reference works included articles by several authors, it amounts to more than two or even three sources. Besides, I looked into Brugmann to make comparisons of sound representations for Northern Occidental Indo-European Language families, and into Lithuania on the Rising for some info on Gedimynas as a conqueror in Eastern Rite Christian terrotories previously under Rurikides in Kiev.

b) I am sceptic about routinely rewording things, preferring the original wording, unless I can change some one detail making it shorter, snappier, clearer.

If one is copying anyway, why hide it? My work entitled Litaven is thus mainly a cento. Parts of the narrative here may well be the same.

c) I prefer thinking about my own wording in the comments, like when chosing between different versions, or reflecting on info, including moralising or - in case of defining the word nationality in first part of Litaven - reaffirming my creationist and thomist stand.

In that blog, previously published on MSN Group Antimodernism, I made comments in Swedish (spelling it just a little more archaic than the text from Nordisk Familjebok, making my Swedish spelling about as old fashioned as current British spelling of English language, the one of Dr Johnson, which I follow unless I see reasons to differntatiate better than he between French loan words: I rale at absent foes in loneliness [râler] but my train journeys are on rails [rail]). Here, since asked for by U S American citizens, I will write my own words in - British! - English (and my certainty to be understood by Americans while doing so encouraged my choice of 18/19 C. spelling and grammar in my Swedish), on the other hand this blogpost already contains another language used in quotes: Latin, which I use a table for giving my translation. As I did when quoting St Robert Bellarmine earlier on.

I might have been doing something dangerous here.

St Anselm was clearly Papist and Filioquist. He defended Papism against Caesareopapism (as we call it, Vladimir Moss might call it symphony) that later triumphed with Henry VIII from first to last in his capacity of Archbishop of Canterbury. He defended filioque as a truth of faith or maybe indeed already as a dogm of faith against Greeks in Bari, while exiled by William II Rufus. He also defended the separate but equal usages of leavened and unleavened bread there.

But writing about this has a bearing on present day problematic debates between the two Calcedonian and Apostolic Confessions, which is what Eadmer foresaw.

So pray for me, please!

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Bibliothèque public
d'Information
Georges Pompidou
Paris (Beaubourg)
26/IV/2010

PS. Two more things: a) the subject choice being a present for you in no way precludes the usual conditions d'utilisations ultérieures/note on further use conditions (see index page), except insofar that if YOU TWO want to say, print out and sell THIS ESSAY, that is for free for you; b) I am an inveterate rambler, I go off tangents, do not correct that, but enjoy or forbear, and if you want to go off tangents on some side issue, feel free to suggest one. As said, I am writing not to academic criteria!


Saint Anselm of Aosta

Geographical background: Savoy
Moral sense: freedom.


How many realise that St Anselm was a Savoyard? A Piedmontese? A countryman of St Francis of Sales and a close relative of the Savoyan Principality, which saved Vienna from the Turcs? And, of course too, of Garibaldi and Cavour? Go to Nice and eat a Socca before you continue reading! Or do not, if you prefer or cannot.

That essay about Grazi Lietuva which I wrote earlier starts out with the question what is a nation? God created one mankind. Then he drowned nearly all of it. Noah and three sons, as well as their wives survived. Each of the sons had children and grandchildren who were ancestors of the first 72 nations. At the Tower of Babel the nations split from each other. If there are now more nations than 72, it is because not only have some nations united but also some split off from each other since then. But the profound meaning of nation is this: they have different sensibilities.

The sensibility of Savoy is very much concerned with freedom. More so than France, I think. Turin (Torino) has the Holy Shroud, the memorial of the Grave that could not keep God a prisoner. When St Lazarus was raised, he could not walk or move about easily, his shroud was taken off by others, as Our Lord Himself told the bystanders. But Our Lord had no human help taking off His Own Holy Shroud, which still baffles science. And Savoy got this Very Holy Relic.

But that happened according to wikipedia in 1578, when the house had already rejected Calvinist Protestantism, the "Christian" Confession that least of all confesses us as created free and also freed by the Cross, that happened then a long way after the life of our hero. He too was to reject, if not Protestantism, at least a kind of Cæsareopapism redolent of later Anglicanism, which, too, was a kind of Protestantism, if not in all, at least in most of its believers.

An example of this freedom - and the reason why Savoy rejected Calvinism - is how Anselm reasons about the fall of the Devil. I am not really quoting now, just restating basics of the argument:

First chapter establishes that neither men nor angels have anything which they have not received. One of these next chapters "discipulus" - would that Jean Calvin had had his discipline i e love! - asks - "but then the reason the Devil was not kept in righteousness was that God did not give the gift of persistence in justice" (just as, when talking about any angel kept just the reason for his persistence was that God gave it). Wait a minute - basically says "magister"! - if I hand you something and you accept it, the reason for your having it is that I gave it, right? - Yup. - And so, not giving it may be one reason for not receiving it, right? - Yup, that is what I meant! - But if I hand something to someone else and he does not take it, is he not receiving because I do not give, or am I not giving because he refuses to receive? - The latter, quoth "discipulus".


Calvin and Beza could also so have concluded. St Anselms father was Gundolf of Candia-Geneva. His mother was from Burgundy.

Freedom in the Savoy version has sometimes been genuine (rejection of Calvinism and the Turkish yoke, two religions of which neither understood that God gave the Devil a real choice to remain good), sometimes sham (as Cavour pretending to liberate young boys and girls from "parental tyranny" by forcing them to wait longer until marriage than Church law required, or as in Roman Mayor after "liberation from Popish yoke" giving the Pantheon back its "Pagan freedom" by making it a burial place for great but excommunicated men - of the house of Savoy, among others - and maybe also Garibaldi liberating The Two Sicilies, which were not his home), sometimes humdrum (as in fewer taxes than some other places). But freedom has been the theme, even if some versions in the minor have distorted the great fifth to a small fifth, the perfect to the dissonant. In the case of St Anselm, it was a perfect fifth. A perfect sense of freedom.

Before giving this lesson about the Devil having enjoyed the freedom of choice, he had given his father a lesson in Christian freedom.

Which brings us to the question of next theme:

Family background: Candia and Burgundy
Moral sense: may a man reject the will of his father?


Before I go on here, I ought to reject or correct as misunderstanding. The Roman Church is less paternalist than not only Jews, Moslems, Protestants, but even Greek Orthodox. To the first three a man may not go into monasteries especially not in disobedience to parents nor marry in disobedience to parents. To Greek Orthodox a man may become a nun or a monk against his parents' will, but not a married man against his parents' will. Rome says: even marriage may be done opposing the parents' or one parent's will. Before I justify it, I must say I am, heart and mind, with Rome here.

Someone who is reading Church Fathers and may be into Greek Orthodox Church just lauded me for speaking of Papalism. I reprint my answer (if I was wrong about his allegiance he will correct me in private, I am neither divulging his words nor his name, so even if I am mistaken about him, I do not hurt him):

I used Papism as using your terminology. If you are like Gk Orthodox.

The kind of Papalism you reject sets in with Gregorian reform according to your accounts.

And St Anselm very much stands for the Gregorian reform (as Pope Gregory VII, also a Saint, but not same as Gregory I, whom you also acknowledge as a Saint). The view of Vladimir Moss, that it was like heinous pride of the Pope to claim ability to depose a secular ruler if the latter was unjust, was also known in England, it was that of St Anselm's persecutors, William Rufus and Henry I.


Dixi et salvavi animam meam. (For this time at least)


It is standard among those who seek fault with Christ to claim he taught evil, like the words about hating father and mother. But they are within a certain tradition, which can be traced to both Moses and Gamaliel, through his disciple St Paul:

Deuteronomy 33:8-9 To Levi also he said: Your perfection, and your doctrine be to your holy man, whom you have proved in the temptation, and judged at the waters of contradiction: Who has said to his father, and to his mother: I do not know you; and to his brethren: I know you not: and their own children they have not known. These have kept your word, and observed your covenant, ...


comment says:

Who hath said, etc... It is the duty of the priestly tribe to prefer God's honour and service before all considerations of flesh and blood: in such manner as to behave as strangers to their nearest akin, when these would withdraw them from the business of their calling. (Challoner)


Ephesians, 6:4 And you, fathers, provoke not your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and correction of the Lord.


Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.


Comment says:

26 "Hate not"... The law of Christ does not allow us to hate even our enemies, much less our parents: but the meaning of the text is, that we must be in that disposition of soul, as to be willing to renounce, and part with every thing, how near or dear soever it may be to us, that would keep us from following Christ.


Now, St Anselm, like St Francis of Assisi after him, or like St Thomas Aquinas, was one of those who were called to disobey a father in order to make a life according to the religious vocation. Or like two before them, St Symeon the Stylite and St Genevieve of Paris - who lived long, thus enjoying the blessing promised for honouring parents!

The reason why this kind of Bible study, usually in two parts, either Old Testament or Epistle and after either Gospel is not with these texts is that disobedience to parents, though important parts of the story, are not what their story was about. Today we celebrated St Stanislas, martyr, and the culmination was on his martyrdom, not on what started his clerical carreer: martyrdom being in standard version the Stabunt Justi for Old Testament ("Epistle") reading with today Ego sum vitis vera for Gospel. And so, St Anselm too has other readings than the three quoted verses. He is celebrated with the Mass 'In Medio Ecclesiae', the Commune Doctorum (standard text for Church Doctors) which has for Gospel Matthew 5:13-19. Ye are the salt of the earth ... St Anselm was not to lose his savour, but his father tried to make it so, that was why he had to disobey.

So who was St Anselm's father? And who the mother, who inspired him more wisely?

Finding Gundulf de Candia on the web is hard, except such as go to short notices about - St Anselm - saying that Gundulf de Candia seems to have been harsh and violent, whereas ... was wise et c.

Candia first struck me as "wait - something with cursaders in Greece, right?" At least the episcopal city of Rhitimna is "thirty-seven miles south-west of Candia", but whether that has any bearing on the Savoyan nobility, I do not know. Later on, a Petrus de Candia is listed among Scotist philosophers, and he died as Pope Alexander V (this should be the house of Candia we are talking about), but Gundulf ...!

to be continued ...

2 commentaires:

a.e. nee a dit…

thanks, Hans!

Hans-Georg Lundahl a dit…

You are welcome!

Did you enjoy the birthday party?