Mostly written between 1070 and 1080, before he became Archbishop of Canterbury, the prayers and meditations of Anselm of Aosta created a tradition of intimate, intensely personal devotional works written in subtle and theologically daring prose. While the Prayer to God is based on the Lord's Prayer, the Prayer to Christ is inspired by ardent private emotion and other prayers invest saints with individual attributes, with John the Baptist as the friend, Peter as the shepherd and Mary Magdalene as the forgiving lover, among many others. The meditations include a searching exploration of the state of the soul and a lament on the loss of purity, and the Proslogion discusses the mysteries of faith. With their bright imagery, beautiful language and highly original thought, the works of Anselm have secured a lasting place in both religious and secular literature.
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