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Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy

by Signum University

This course material is only available in the iTunes U app on iPhone or iPad.

Course Description

Starting in May 2017, Mythgard Academy will present a free 7-week seminar series on The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius.

First published in the year 524 under the Latin title De consolatione philosophiae, this work had a major influence on Christian thought and philosophy throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance period. Written while Boethius was in prison awaiting execution for treason, the book takes the form of a dialogue between the author and the Lady Philosophy, exploring issues like the problem of evil (theodicy), free will and predestination, and the fickleness of fortune.

For those who might wonder how this work fits into the exploration of speculative fiction typically undertaken by Mythgard Academy seminars, the most direct connection is through the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Dr. Tom Shippey in particular has noted Boethian themes throughout Tolkien’s work, and an understanding of The Consolation of Philosophy can provide deeper insights into Tolkien’s works. More generally, various concepts from Boethius have found their way into science fiction and fantasy works, as well as pop culture at large, such as the metaphor of fortune as a perpetually rotating wheel, or rota fortuna. (Malcolm Reynolds: “Wheel never stops turning, Badger.” / Badger: “That only matters to the people on the rim.” — Firefly)

Of course, Boethius’ work can also be viewed as a speculative work in itself, with the character of Boethius in the book taking on a role similar to that of Dante in The Divine Comedy or Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse-Five (which has its own Boethian intersections in relation to free will and predestination). Whether speculative literature or something else, The Consolation of Philosophy is well worth exploring in its own right in addition to the extensive influence it has had on other writers and works over the centuries.

Customer Reviews

Boethius - Consolation of Philosophy...

Boethius Consoltation of Philosophy labeled as fiction?

Glad Itunes U employed a room full of monkeys.

Good lord how insulting.

Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy
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