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The Consolation of Philosophy

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  6,017 ratings  ·  324 reviews
Boethius composed De Consolation Philosophiae in the 6th century while awaiting death by torture, condemned on a charge of plotting against Gothic rule, which he protested as manifestly unjust. Though a Christian, Boethius details the true end of life as the soul's knowledge of God, & consoles himself with the tenets of Greek philosophy, not with Christian precepts. Wr ...more
Hardcover, 170 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Signature Press (first published 523)
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Huda Yahya
هو واحد من أجمل وأشهر الكتب التي تنتمي لأدب السجون

وقد كتبه بوئثيوس في في سجنه بعد أن حكم عليه ملك القوط بالاعدام بتهمة الخيانة العظمى

عُرفت رسالته الخالدة تلك بعزاء الفلسفة أي التعزي بها واتخاذها سلوى وعلاج

فقد بثها تأملاته الفلسفية في لحظاته الأخيرة وشرح كيف أن التأمل الروحاني يروِّض النفس ويجعلها أكثر تقبلًا للمحن والشدائد

تعلم بوئثيوس في سجنه أن يرى الأمور في حجمها الحقيقي وأن يتسامى ليدرك المعني

ترجع أهمية بوئثيوس إلى ترجمته مخطوطات الفلسفة ورسائل أرسطو كما حول برسالته الفلسفة من صيغة نظرية إل
I’ve meant to read this for a very long time, probably since I found out that the title of The Consolations of Philosophy, another book I quite enjoyed, was borrowed from this one. In case you don’t know the background, I’ll be quick. The writer was leading a perfectly satisfactory life (in fact, even better than satisfactory) when one day everything went seriously yuck (in case you need a theme song to understand this – you can’t say I don’t try to provi ...more
Mark Adderley
Why does a good God allow bad things to happen to good people? And why does He allow bad people to get away with doing bad things?

In 524, Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius was executed, most likely by strangulation, on a charge of treason. Whilst languishing in prison, he wrote a book that was to become one of the most influential philosophical tracts of the next thousand years, The Consolation of Philosophy.

Boethius is himself the narrator of the book. He speculates on being visited, in his pl
The Consolation of Philosophy is about listening to your inner Voice of Reason. Boethius, the author, personified our conscience by employing a feature familiar to his audience, an imaginary dialogue between self and one’s muse, who in his case was Lady Philosophy. This technique and the ensuing exchange reminded me of similar literary encounters with mythical beings. I could visualize her as Tolkien’s Galadriel appearing (to Frodo) when most needed bringing astutely applicable advice also of a ...more
Written by Boethius while under arrest for allegedly plotting against the Ostrogothic King.

Boethius writes out conversations, interspersed with poems, between himself and a personification of Philosophy who encourages him to reject concerns with the world and concentrate on the eternal instead. While cursing his evil fortune, Philosophy appears and upbraids Boethius for abandoning her and devoting himself to worldly concerns instead of learning and Christianity. As the dialogues progress, Boethi
Confused at how to rate this one.

As a work of late Antiquity literature it is a masterpiece (beautifully translated by Mr. Slavitt) and I am happy to have read it, specially the first three books, which deal with human happiness and how to achieve it. Readers of self-help books (self-help, pffft!) would be better off reading this than the vacuous, laughable books of our time.

As a theological work, it is less than convincing. Books IV and V remind me of Augustine's 'The City Of God', circular re
Sep 16, 2008 Ron rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: students of the Dark Ages
One of the most influential books of the Middle Ages, bridging the passing of classical culture and rise of Medieval Europe.

Invaluable aid to understanding the worldview of Medieval man. For a scholarly analysis of what and how, refer to C. S. Lewis's The Discarded Image ISBN 0521477352.

Paradoxically, another complementary text is Thomas Cahill's How the Irish Saved Civilization, (ISBN 0385418493) covering the same period when Boethius' influence was greatest (though Cahill offers Augustine as
The Consolation of Philosophy was arguably the second most important text in Western Thought, after the Bible, for more than a thousand years. It was widely read and studied, translated (from the original Latin) by a broad range of people including King Alfred, Queen Elizabeth I, and Geoffrey Chaucer. In a day before printing, when books had to be hand-copied, a copy could be found in almost every serious reader's library.

Boethius was central figure in 6th Century Rome. In addition to holding h
The reading of a book about consolation came at a time in my life when I am in need of consolation in a way that I have not been needful for many years.

Boethius undertook this writing as he awaited execution and his need for consolation was great indeed. Greater than mine certainly.

And although I found compelling his approach to answering the questions of free will v foreknowledge and why evil seems to exist in a world where only good was created I found no consolation there.

I kept waiting to
There is really nothing I can add to the body of praise and criticism on this work, so I will make my comments as simple and subjective as possible.

If read in a certain way, Boethius's work is still applicable as a sort of self-help guide to those suffering life's sinister doldrums. Its central idea is that there is suffering, but that such suffering can be okay. Some of the philosophy is a reflection of earlier work (Aristotle makes a number of appearances), but the ground that Boethius re-cov
Stephanie Ricker
The Consolation of Philosophy turned out to be brilliant. I highly recommend it! It’s very short, but very dense. I think I fully digested maybe one-half of what was actually contained in the book. I thoroughly enjoyed Boethius’ devastatingly logical approach to the huge questions in life. It reminded me of something, and at first I couldn’t put my finger on it. I finally figured out that it was very reminiscent of C.S. Lewis’ theological writings. It has that same inexorable logic and the same ...more
Jesse Broussard
How absolutely delightful: an honest use for Philosophy. Never again will I agree with Edward de Vere that there was never yet philosopher that could endure the toothache patiently: here is a man who endured a dungeon and finally an unjust death. Here is yet another example of the proof that "Wisdom infinite must form the best" world; if it took the torment of Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius to create his magnum opus, which of us would deny that, if he must die, as he must, this method of his ...more
Boèce est un philosophe et homme politique romain du 6ème siècle, chrétien, qui vécut à la cour du roi Ostrogoth Théodoric. Élevé dans une famille de patriciens, il exerça trois fois le consulat, mais tomba en disgrâce du fait de la jalousie de ses ennemis, et fut jeté en prison, promis à une mort certaine. Ce revers de fortune dut être dur à supporter, et il écrivit ce texte pendant sa captivité. Alors qu'il se lamente, entouré par les Muses, la Raison arrive et chasse ces importunes, pour arra ...more
Invaluable to the understanding of medieval European literature, really. I can't believe I took so long to read it: it explains a lot about the outlook of some texts. It takes the form of a dialogue between Boethius, as the narrator, and Dame Philosophy, during Boethius' imprisonment, explaining the capriciousness of Fortune and the divine plans of God.

It's not exactly riveting and fun, but it was a pivotal text and influential for a long time. The Oxford World's Classics translation is very rea
Dave Maddock
I'm told that medievals thought Boethius was the man. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis also apparently thought his argumentation was compelling. Then I started a class on Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde which is steeped in Boethian thought. So, after years of hearing how great this guy was I finally decided that I had to read this book. How disappointing. It is little more than a case study in the perils of motivated reasoning.

The book addresses four related metaphysical problems: why bad things happen to
Alfred Searls
Are you interested in the nature of time, or parallel universes? Do you find yourself wondering about the unknowable nature of the cosmos? If so then this medieval treatise on philosophy, life and the nature of God is just the book for you. No, seriously, I’m not joking … you’ll see. But for now let us begin at the beginning. It is AD524 and the Roman philosopher and civil servant Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius is under house arrest on charges of treason. The charges are almost certainly mor ...more
This is an excellent book. Even for someone like me, an atheist, there are good insights. Except the last part, the book 5, which deals with the matter of the eternity of God, which for me is obviously unappealing - except, of course, for sheer curiosity on the history of the ideas - all the other parts possess some interesting word to live well (the so-called practical philosophy).
Anyone familiar with ancient philosophy will find the same topics herein revisited from a christian perspective (al
"It is a sad business, and I am prompted to sing."

Boethius, an imperial official in the waning days of Rome, wrote this book to console himself when he was a political prisoner under Theodoric the Ostrogoth – so it isn't exactly a book you'd expect to be brimming with relevance. However, for readers living through their own middle ages, it definitely proffers a kind of curious comfort. Boethius begins with a poem recounting how in his "salad days" he was rich and "whimsical Fortune smiled for a
"There is no doubt, then, that all things will happen which God knows will happen; but some of them happen as a result of free will. And, although they happen, they do not, by their existence, lose their proper natures by which, before they happened, they were not able to happen."

Translation: God knew I would find this challenging, or that I might not read it at all, or that I would blow tea out my nose thinking it was, strangely, hilarious. All paths are known.

Amazingly, I just thought the sen
Rick Davis
This book was a pure pleasure to read. Engaging and winsome, Boethius filters Plato and Aristotle through a medieval, Christian lens. I don't know why I hadn't gotten around to reading it before now.
Jan 13, 2008 Mat rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ailing cows, among others
i know, i know. I really shouldn't like this book so much but it was my absolute favorite in college. my best friend and i would take it down to the calves, screaming with grief because they had just been weaned, and read it to them in hopes it would help them see past their pain. I think it worked some of the time! That's how good this book is.
In his study of true happiness, Boethius presents his arguments in the form of a dialogue with the anthropomorphic personification of philosophy. Boethius, paralleling somewhat the biblical account of Job, has had a good life, but now finds himself in prison and facing potential execution. While he rants against his misfortunes, Philosophy tries to cure him of his misperceptions of happiness.

Most of the concepts presented here meshed with my current perception of happiness, and many of the new c
H.J. Swinford
Sep 11, 2008 H.J. Swinford rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Theologians, Philosophers, Christians
Recommended to H.J. by: Lubbock Christian University
Shelves: philosophical
Amazingly deep and thoughtful. I love this work, discussion, essay, story...whatever you want to call it. It's astounding. It certainly makes you think until your brain hurts.
David Withun
Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy is simultaneously the starting point and the final consummation of the great medieval synthesis of the Greco-Roman and Jewish-Early Christian worldviews. Here, Boethius sets the task of the middle ages to reconcile the two great blocs of Western heritage and does so admirably himself.

Written while Boethius was in prison awaiting his own execution, Boethius frames the book in the form of a prison dialogue between himself and Lady Philosophy. While contemplatin
“He would have been remarkably in any age; in the age in which he lived, he is utterly amazing.”
—Betrand Russell on Boethius.

First of all, this is a beautiful book. Boethius—himself in a horrible situation—strives to use the extent of his philosophic powers to condole others who are suffering, and to maintain a positive view of humanity and the universe. That the man could have written this while awaiting death shows that he was a true philosopher—I probably would have spent my time in jail wri
Jacob Aitken
The Lady Philosophy appeared to Boethius in a vision while Boethius was in prison for political crimes. This book, while highly entertaining, set the stage for medieval philosophy. Among others, St Thomas Aquinas would be in constant conversation with Boethius.

The first section contains a fiery retort by Boethius concerning his imprisonment.

Eventually he and Lady Philosophy get into a discussion concerning true happiness (which St Thomas would essentially copy several centuries later). They de
This book is partially satisfying and has some incredible gems, which is to be expected from one of the most celebrated early Medieval works (from c 524) that was much commented upon for hundreds of years. I picked this up to gain a window into the Medieval mindset, and wasn't disappointed. Ironically, it made me want to pick up "A Confederacy of Dunces" again....

Boethius was a Roman politician who attained the heights of power, prestige, wealth etc, but was accused of corruption and crime and
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here.

There are a few books which have had a huge influence on the age in which they were written. However, few people today read The Consolation of Philosophy, which could be considered the foundation of medieval culture.

Boethius was a statesman in sixth century Italy, just after the final fall of the Western Roman Empire, but was disgraced and imprisoned; like many politicians in that situation, he maintained his innocence. But in prison, according to the account
Jan 11, 2009 Tyler rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: General Philosophy Readers
Shelves: philosophy
"Philosophy" appears in the form of a woman to the statesman Boethius in this dialectical disquisition on the meaning of human suffering.

In real life the Roman, Boethius, wrote this while awaiting his own execution, during a time when the Dark Ages had just descended upon Europe. His death drawing close, he and the lady Philosophy go point by point over the cruelties of life to see if anything can ever justify it, to be able to look back and say, "It was worth it." The intensity of a thinker so
I had to read this book for both PHL100Y1Y, Introduction to Philosophy, and ENG150Y1Y, The Literary Tradition.

I still don't understand it. I mean, sure, I get the premise, but I feel like the arguments don't work as a system in my mind; all I can remember is that he didn't realise true happiness, and that the evil are weak, and to trust in God, which made Lady Philosophy look more like Lady Religion.

Of course, it made me question whether "us mortals can never understand the universe" is actually
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On the Southern L...: Boethius and the Consolation of Philosophy 3 37 Jun 18, 2013 06:26AM  
  • On Free Choice of the Will
  • The Enneads
  • On the Good Life
  • Ecclesiastical History of the English People
  • The Major Works (World's Classics)
  • Pensées
  • The Idea of a University
  • Protagoras
  • A History of Philosophy 3: Ockham to Suarez
  • New Science
  • Summa Theologica, 5 Vols
  • Philosophical Fragments (Writings, Vol 7)
  • The Journey of the Mind to God
  • The Complete Works
  • The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Canto)
  • The Romance of the Rose
  • Principles of Human Knowledge & Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonius
Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius, commonly called Boethius (ca. 480–524 or 525 AD) was a philosopher of the early 6th century. He was born in Rome to an ancient and prominent family which included emperors Petronius Maximus and Olybrius and many consuls. His father, Flavius Manlius Boethius, was consul in 487 after Odoacer deposed the last Western Roman Emperor. Boethius, of the noble Anicia fam ...more
More about Boethius...
Theological Tractates / The Consolation of Philosophy (Loeb Classical Library) The Consolation of Philosophy with The Imitation of Christ & Religio Medici Fortune's Prisoner: The Poems of The Consolation of Philosophy Fundamentals Of Music On Fate (De fato)/The Consolation of Philosophy (Philosophiae consolationis) IV. 5-7, V

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