This short work by Anselm is a presented as an argument from reason for why God became a man. It is divided into two “books”; the first half establishes why mankind’s fall from God necessitated man providing atonement. There are what feel like some curious rabbit trails in book one, but they were likely relevant discussions 1000 years ago.
The second book explains in greater detail how God, becoming a man, was necessary for our salvation. There are some real gems here, and real insights. Though presented in a different format than a modern book might (a discussion between Anselm and his friend Boso), there is a wealth of profound wisdom purely from reason as to why it is completely logical that God became a man, in order to redeem fallen man. Though he doesn’t use Scripture to defend his positions (until the very last paragraph), that is part of Anselm’s program; i.e., proving that the incarnation should not come as a surprise simply on the basis of logic. A refreshingly honest sort of philosophizing.
A must read for anyone who has a care to understand the great discussions of Church history. Furthermore, this was wonderful to read around Christmas-time, as it shows how the incarnation was of greatest import to our salvation. Glory to the newborn King, indeed!