The Prisoner s Philosophy: Life and Death in Boethius s Consolation

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The Prisoner s Philosophy: Life and Death in Boethius s Consolation

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Description

The Roman philosopher Boethius (c. 480-524) is best known for the Consolation of Philosophy, one of the most frequently cited texts in medieval literature. In the Consolation, an unnamed Boethius sits in prison awaiting execution when his muse Philosophy appears to him. Her offer to teach him who he truly is and to lead him to his heavenly home becomes a debate about how to come to terms with evil, freedom, and providence. The conventional reading of the Consolation is that it is a defense of pagan philosophy; nevertheless, many readers who accept this basic argument find that the ending is ambiguous and that Philosophy has not, finally, given the prisoner the comfort she had promised. // In The Prisoner s Philosophy, Joel C. Relihan delivers a genuinely new reading of the Consolation. He argues that it is a Christian work dramatizing not the truths of philosophy as a whole, but the limits of pagan philosophy in particular. He views it as one of a number of literary experiments of late anti