Christian Classics Study Group – Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy


Friday March 6, 6:30pm

The next text we are considering is a famous  work by Boethius from the 6th century (it is only about 150 small pages of text). Boethius was a Christian advisor to Emperor Theodoric, but was wrongly accused by envious rivals of treason. He was convicted and, while waiting in prison to be executed, he wrote this important work, one of the most widely read books after the Bible by scholars in the West for 1000 years.

BoethiusBoethius ponders important questions for people of faith, including: (1) the question of theodicy: if God is all powerful and all loving, why do the righteous suffer? and related to this, (2) Boethius is interested in the connection between fortune and God’s Providence (the image of “the wheel of fortune” comes from this work), and, (3) if God has all knowledge of the future does that take away our free will (or, if our salvation is all God’s work, is there any point in praying)?  Boethius uses prose and poetry in a dialogue between himself and Lady Wisdom in this work full of consolation and of hope.

The English translation that I am suggesting is (linked to

Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy (Loeb Classical Library) (this edition includes the Latin original text and Boethius’ Theological Tractates)  Click here to download the first few pages to wet your appetite!

However, I’m sure there are other good translations in English or in Dutch.

Arend Smilde, one of the participants at our last gathering, has shared with me a very helpful article on Boethius’ Consolation written by C.S. Lewis (though I’m not sure why he thinks the work was not, as the tradition holds, written while he awaited death in prison!).  You can click here to download it.

We begin with dinner at 6:30pm, discussion from 8 to 9:30, and concluding with a time of fellowship. All are most welcome.  Please let Hanna know if you’re coming so we can plan the dinner: