Book Series Mediaeval Sources in Translation, vol. 50

William of Auvergne

Selected Spiritual Writings

Why God Became Man; On Grace; On Faith

  • Pages: 127 p.
  • Size:150 x 230 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2011

  • ISBN: 978-0-88844-300-7
  • Paperback
  • Available


This volume contains translations of three of William of Auvergne’s shorter more spiritual works: Cur Deus homo (Why God Became Man), De gratia (On Grace), and De fide (On Faith). Each work touches upon the understanding of the relation between nature and grace, the moral and theological virtues, and of the need for our redemption by Christ and its character. The introduction situates the treatises within William’s many works and within the thought of the early thirteenth century.


In the first treatise William sets forth the reasons for the incarnation of the Word. In it he is deeply influenced by Anselm of Canterbury’s emphasis on the need for satisfaction to be made to God for human sin, a satisfaction that could only adequately be made by someone both divine and human. While Anselm claimed to provide necessary reason of the incarnation, William admits that God could have redeemed the world in another way.


In the second William argues for the need of grace in order for human beings to return to God and aims to refute the position of the Pelagian heretics as he understood it.


The third treatise presents his understanding of faith as something that goes beyond the abilities of unaided human nature, although he lacks the later concept of the supernatural.