Versions of Medieval Freedom

Kenneth Chong (University of Western Australia)

Thursday 7 June 2018

10.30am-1.00pm (includes lunch)

Tea and coffee on arrival from 10:00am

RSVP by Tuesday 5 June to Spaces are limited.

Medieval Freedoms

Best known for a proof of God’s existence (or, for others, a formulation of the atonement), Anselm of Canterbury (1033/4-1109) was a complex and original medieval thinker whose philosophical, theological and devotional works were widely influential. In this masterclass, we will focus on a lesser-known work called On Freedom of Choice (De libertate arbitrii), which starts with the apparent incompatibility of human freedom with God’s foreknowledge. Asking “what this freedom of choice is, and whether we always have it,” Anselm goes on to think through the problem in a dialogue that touches on sin, truth, angels, blindness, and the deceptions of language. In light of our discussion, we might consider later versions of medieval freedom—and perhaps some contemporary ones too.

Kenneth Chong was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the UQ node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions until January 2018. He primarily works on medieval literature and philosophy, and is currently completing a book on scholastic and poetic theologies, with an emphasis on fourteenth-century England.


Selected readings will be circulated to Masterclass participants ahead of the event.

Image: The Life of St Anselm in St Corentin Cathedral in Quimper, Finistère, Brittany, France. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


Boardroom, The University of Queensland Art Museum

University Drive, St Lucia