Category: History

Tom Holland on the changing meaning of the word ‘saint’

By Graham Harter I was interested recently to see that historian Tom Holland, in his new book Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind, refers to the change in the meaning of the word ‘saint’ down the centuries of Christianity. Anybody who has read the New Testament will be aware that, there, the term ‘saints’

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights’, European Convention on Human Rights’, and UK Human Rights Act 1998’s statements on freedom of thought, freedom of religion and freedom of expression

I would like to share here three of the great legal declarations pertaining to freedom of thought, freedom of religion, and freedom of expression in the UK. We need constantly to remind ourselves of these great legal principles, because what has been clear for over a decade is that these freedoms are now under serious

How to argue graciously: Anselm of Canterbury and Gaunilo of Marmoutiers

I recently read the Proslogion of Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, written in 1077-78, together with the written criticism of Anselm’s argument by Gaunilo, a monk of Marmoutiers, and Anselm’s subsequent reply. In Gaunilo and Anselm’s correspondence over the Proslogion we see a wonderful example of how to argue graciously — an example which has a

Is God ‘that-than-which-nothing-greater-can-be-thought’?

According to Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109, the existence of God is proven from his being ‘that-than-which-nothing-greater-can-be-thought.’ He sets forth this proof in his work, the Proslogion, written in 1077-78.[1] I recently had the joy of reading it in Anselm, Brian Davies, and G. R. Evans, The Major Works, Oxford World’s Classics