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Anselm$
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Sandra Visser and Thomas Williams

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195309386

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195309386.001.0001

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Thinking and Speaking about God

Thinking and Speaking about God

Chapter:
(p.110) (p.111) 7 Thinking and Speaking about God
Source:
Anselm
Author(s):

Sandra Visser

Thomas Williams

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195309386.003.0008

This chapter considers the problems that arise in conceiving and describing this being “God”, and shows how Anselm applies the theory of thought and language to develop an account of thought and language about God that respects God's transcendence and uniqueness but does not preclude one from coming to know truths about God on the basis of rational argument. He presents his account in three stages. In the first stage, he sets forth a test by which to determine what can be said of God, and he explains how language signifies God's essence. In the second stage, he shows how ordinary words can be properly applied to God despite his metaphysical uniqueness. In the third stage, he reconciles divine ineffability with the possibility of rational theology by providing an account of the way in which words and the thoughts that give them their meaning, express God.

Keywords:   God's transcendence, God's uniqueness, divine ineffability, God per aliud

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