I recently had the (these days) rare opportunity to purchase some new books and I decided against filling in more of my contemporary theological library and opted for some of the Patristic Fathers. Among them I decided to procure works by St. Anselm of Canterbury.
In my experience most people on the English scene these days instantly think of the Oxford edition of his “Major Works.” Indeed I was going to get this collection. One of the obvious problems for some who lean academically is that while this book has most of his primary works, there are several, especially of a “less theological” kind, that are omitted. On top of that, the book is sort of a piece of junk; the paper is thin and easily warped, the cover is less-than-substantial, and the introduction is brief.
Luckily I stumbled across this book, The Complete Philosophical and Theological Treatises of Anselm of Canterbury, by Jasper Hopkins and Herbert Richardson, out on a small Twin Cities publishing company, Banning Press.
The book as a physical product is vastly superior. The cover is a regal hard-cloth purple, the pages are thick and the font basic and strong. If this weren’t enough, as Hopkins himself wrote it, the “Introduction” to the volume is the entry on Anselm contained within the meticulous Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (one should strongly consider getting this “Shorter” Routledge Encyclopedia).
Besides this, the volume contains the complete intellectual works of St. Anselm, including four didactic letters and his Meditation on Human Redemption; all the translations are based on the standard critical texts, the Sancti Anselmi Opera Omnia. The book also points you in the direction of English editions of Anselm’s letters not found within.
All in all, at a mere $11, this is the obviously superior edition of these wonderful works.
As icing on the cake, having looked into Dr. Hopkins, it turns out that he teaches here at the University of Minnesota where I am currently engaged in study. I was going to pursue at least some studies in Medieval Christian thought and how great it is to know that I may be able to steal some time with an Anselm expert!
If you follow the link to his personal site, you will find online all of these translations in downloadable format for free, including other works not in this book! Dr. Hopkins apparently is also well studied in Nicholas of Cusa, and he has a sister book to the Anselm one, a collection of The Complete Philosophical and Theological Treatises of Nicholas of Cusa, all of which again are freely accessible on his site or in book format. Dr. Hopkins has also written introductions and commentaries on both theologians.