This is a first-rate work that expertly guides the reader through an exploration of the perplexing ontological argument from a well-balanced analysis of the works of two significant, yet polar opposite thinkers, Anselm and Hegel. The central purpose of this book is to look closely at a certain feature of the ontological proof - namely, its tendency to blur the distinction between the human and the divine - and to argue that this is how the proof can be said to work. Implicit in the ontological proof is what might be called a "logic of unity" which serves to overcome distinctions present to thinking paradigmatically, in this case, the distinction between God and humanity. However, while this tendency can be discerned in the ontological proof for God's existence, one need not see it as a foregone conclusion that this traditional boundary will be overcome therein. Whether the proof ends up in this manner or not depends on the particular way in which one chooses to conceive of divine mystery or transcendence. Hence the ontological proof, in problematizing the distinction between the human and divine spheres, also acts as a touchstone for how one thinks of God's mystery.
Lest it be thought that mystery is a dubious category for philosophical thought, I can say that the central issues is the specific "significance" of mystery for two thinkers, Anselm and Hegel. Although separated by the centuries, Anselm and Hegel represent two different developments of the ontological proof- Anselm in the direction of defending the persistence of God's mystery, and Hegel in the opposite direction of eliminating it.
Foreword by William Desmond; Preface; Introduction; 1. The Intellectual Background to the Ontological Proof; (1) The Meaning of Greatness; (2) "Greatness" is not "Goodness"; (3) The Hierarchy of Reality; (4) Anselm's Concept of "Greatness"; (a) What is the Concept of "Greatness"?; (b) Greatness in the Monologion; (c) Reason: Distinguishing Mark or Mark of Distinction?; 2. Greatness in Anselm's Proslogion; (1) Greatness in the Proslogion; (a) Anselm's View of "Conceiving"; (b) That-than-which-no-greater-can-be-conceived; AND MORE.