Consolation of Philosophy

related topics
{god, call, give}
{theory, work, human}
{church, century, christian}
{law, state, case}
{film, series, show}
{work, book, publish}
{language, word, form}
{son, year, death}
{disease, patient, cell}

Consolation of Philosophy (Latin: Consolatio Philosophiae) is a philosophical work by Boethius, written around the year 524. It has been described as the single most important and influential work in the West on Medieval and early Renaissance Christianity, and is also the last great Western work that can be called Classical.[1][2]

Contents

Consolation of Philosophy

Edward Gibbon[3]

Consolation of Philosophy was written during a one-year imprisonment Boethius served while awaiting trial – and eventual horrific execution – for the crime of treason under the Ostrogothic King Theodoric the Great. Boethius was at the very heights of power in Rome and was brought down by treachery. This experience inspired the text, which reflects on how evil can exist in a world governed by God (the problem of theodicy), and how happiness can be attainable amidst fickle fortune, while also considering the nature of happiness and God. It has been described as "by far the most interesting example of prison literature the world has ever seen."[4]

Even though reference is often made to God, the book is not strictly religious. A link is often assumed, yet there is no reference made to Jesus Christ or Christianity or any other specific religion. God is however represented not only as an eternal and all-knowing being, but as the source of all Good.

Boethius writes the book as a conversation between himself and Lady Philosophy. She consoles Boethius by discussing the transitory nature of fame and wealth ("no man can ever truly be secure until he has been forsaken by Fortune"), and the ultimate superiority of things of the mind, which she calls the "one true good". She contends that happiness comes from within, and that one's virtue is all that one truly has, because it is not imperilled by the vicissitudes of fortune.

Boethius engages questions such as the nature of predestination and free will, why evil men often prosper and good men fall into ruin, human nature, virtue, and justice. He speaks about the nature of free will versus determinism when he asks if God knows and sees all, or does man have free will. To quote V.E. Watts on Boethius, God is like a spectator at a chariot race; He watches the action the charioteers perform, but this does not cause them.[5] On human nature, Boethius says that humans are essentially good and only when they give in to “wickedness” do they “sink to the level of being an animal.” On justice, he says criminals are not to be abused, rather treated with sympathy and respect, using the analogy of doctor and patient to illustrate the ideal relationship between prosecutor and criminal.

Full article ▸

related documents
Allegory of the cave
On Fairy-Stories
Mahavidya
Dhyāna
The White Goddess
Fire (classical element)
Pelagianism
Eschatology
Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Second Epistle to the Thessalonians
A Hunger Artist
Inayat Khan
Butlerian Jihad
Urban legend
Swami Dayananda Saraswati
The Golden Bough
Dreamtime
Midrash
Childhood's End
Second Epistle of Peter
Toltec
Ars Magica
Kundalini yoga
Satanism
Nagarjuna
Sunnah
The Grapes of Wrath
Leaf by Niggle
Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab
Simplicius of Cilicia