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The Consolation of Philosophy Kindle Edition
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|Kindle, April 10, 2002||
|Length: 144 pages|
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The Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius's magnum opus, was one of the most widely read works in medieval Europe, especially in the twelfth century. No doubt, the dramatic context in which the work was written must have greatly accentuated its popularity. But there is more to the Consolation then simply a dramatic background, and this feature in itself would hardly explain the influence of the work on figures ranging from King Alfred to St.Thomas Aquinas. Boethius, being at once a Christian and a philosopher, was confident that reason and faith were reconcilable, and his entire literary enterprise can be summarised in his own words: fidem rationemque coniunge (show the harmony of reason and faith). An inheritor of the Greek tradition, he held that the world was a KOSMOS -- rationally structured, therefore rationally knowable. What makes the Consolation unique is that although it is a religious text, it doesn't make recourse to revealed religion; in Boethius's case, Christianity. That Boethius sought to answer religious questions without reference to Christianity, relying solely on natural philosophy, caused some later figures to question his religious allegiance prior to his death.Read more ›
Boethius laments his adverse 'fortunes' and has a vision in which a majestic woman appears to counsel him. She tells him "it is time for medicine rather than complaint," and that he suffers from "the common illness of deceived minds." Boethius recognizes her -- "I saw that she was Philosophy, my nurse, in whose house I had lived from my youth." The consolations that follow are structured in five books (i.e., chapters).
In Book Two, Lady Philosophy examines the nature of the gifts of Fortune. These gifts of Fortune cannot be "good in themselves; whatever goodness is associated with them is to be found in the personal probity of those who happen to possess them." In Book Three, evil is seen as merely the absence of the Good, as Augustine of Hippo had earlier argued. In Book Four, the question of whether virtue is rewarded and evil is punished is examined. At first look it certainly appears that evil often succeeds. Here Providence is contrasted to Fate. For this reader, books three and four were rather weakly argued and tedious, although I am always reluctant to say this about a classic work such as this. The strengths of The Consolation are books 1, 2, and 5.
Book Five is an excellent consideration of the determinism versus freedom problem.Read more ›
Beyond the philosophical, I was struck by Boethius' resignation to his fate and his quiet confidence in the wrongs being righted. "No one can doubt that God is almighty" Philosophy began. "Certainly not, unless he is mad" I answered. "But nothing is impossible for one who is almighty." "Nothing." "Then can God do evil?" "No, of course not." "Then evil is nothing, since God, who can do all things, cannot do evil."
Both an excellent philosophical tract and a testament to the strength of human reason and belief, I highly recommend it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Held prisoner, Boethius composed a conversation between himself and Lady Philosophy in which the latter consoles Boethius in his predicament. Read morePublished 19 months ago by bronx book nerd
We look for the quick answer, and the easy answer. We expect wheat from a field we have never planted, and grapes from vines we have never tended. Read morePublished on July 12, 2013 by Anthony J. Passaniti
As you probably know, this is prison literature circa 524 AD that focuses on finding "happiness" in the midst of suffering and disappointment. The material is Excellent! Read morePublished on April 21, 2013 by Kent Moore
I would recommend this book to anyone out there who wants to study philosophy. It was interesting and it something worth keep-
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