Introduction: Arguments, Texts and Contexts
Anselm's argument is more familiar to philosophers of religion as the most famous example of the so-called 'ontological argument'. In the context of their discussions about proofs for the existence of God, Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas are considered early examples of the ways in which the ontological argument has served to divide philosophers. This book explores the journey of the Proslogion from its origins in the private, devotional context of the monastery of Bec in the eleventh century to its reception in the public and adversarial atmosphere of the thirteenth-century universities. It highlights that philosophers of religion read their assumptions into the texts of Anselm, Thomas and Bonaventure, though that they certainly do. The chapter explores the ways in which reason is constituted in and through the contexts in which it is used, and in particular, to promote an awareness of the ways in which reason operates within religious communities and traditions.