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Boethius' Metaphysics. Studies in English: Third Part: Mic - Z

Contents of this Section

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius

Studies in English

  1. Micaelli, Claudio. 2004. "Boethian Reflections on God: Between Logic and Metaphysics." American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly no. 78:181-202.

    Abstract: "This paper systematically reconstructs Boethius's reflections on God, attempting to find the common element to which all of the variations in these reflections can be retraced. This common element is constituted by the continuous tension between kataphatic and apophatic theology. Boethius apparently both kataphatically defines God in his logical works, and maintains that God can only be defined apophatically in his theological works. This tension can, at times, cause some incoherence as one moves from one level of discourse to another: that is, from the logico-linguistic to the metaphysical-ontological level of discourse. Boethius's thought manifests this incoherence. This incoherence is in part common to Neoplatonic thought and its sources, but would also seem to be dictated by the nature of the very operation of reflecting upon God."

  2. Mignucci, Mario. 1989. "Truth and Modality in Late Antiquity: Boethius on future Contingent Propositions." In Atti del convegno internazionale di storia della logica. Le teorie della modalità, edited by Corsi, Giovanna, Mangione, Corrado and Mugnai, Massimo, 47-78. Bologna: CLUEB.

    "As is well known, Aristotle's analysis of future contingents in De interpretatione, Chapter 9 has generated since ancient times a lot of discussion (1), which ranges from the interpretation of his own words to the philosophical meaning and adequacy of the solution proposed by him. Unfortunately, the former question is entailed by the latter and there is no agreement between scholars about the kind of answer that Aristotle gives to the question of determinism, despite the astonishing quantity of works dedicated to it. I would by no way like to be involved in the problem of Aristotle's interpretation. My task here is to illustrate the meaning and relevance of Boethius' analysis of future contingents, and I will consider his commentary on the De interpretatione for its own sake. In other words, I do not feel myself committed to evaluate the adequacy of Boethius' proposal with respect to Aristotle, even if, of course, he believed that his interpretation was faithful to the pages of the De interpretatione. Nor will I try to compare Boethius' solution with other solutions which have been proposed by ancient and modern interpreters who have tried to explain Aristotle's text. I will just consider one view different from that of Boethius, because Boethius himself discusses it, and his discussion is relevant to the understanding of his position." (p. 47)

    (1) A bibliographical survey of the relevant books and papers until the year 1973 can be found in V. Celluprica, II capitolo 9 del De interpretatione di Aristotele. Rassegna di studi: 1930-1973, Bologna 1977. Further references are in D. Frede, "The-Sea Battle Reconsidered: A Defence of the Traditional Interpretation", Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, 3 (1985), pp. 84-87 and J. Talanga, Zukunftsurteile und Fatum. Eine Untersuchung Über Aristoteles' De interpretatione 9 und Ciceros De fato mit einem Überblick Ober die spãtantiken Reimarmene-Lehre, Bonn 1986, pp. 169-185. The recent article of C. Kirwan, "Aristotle on the Necessity of the Present", Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, 4 (1986), pp. 167-187 must be added.

  3. Minnis, A. J., ed. 1987. The Medieval Boethius: Studies in the Vernacular Translations of De Consolatione Philosophiae. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer.

  4. Mohrmann, Christine. 1976. "Some Remarks on the Language of Boethius, "Consolatio Philosophiae" " In Latin Script and Letters A.D. 400-900. Festschrift Presented to Ludwig Bieler on the Occasion of his 70th Birthday, edited by O'Meara, John J. and Naumann, Bernd, 54-61. Leiden: Brill.

    Reprinted in Manfred Fuhrmann und Joachim Gruber (Hrsg.), Boethius, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1984, pp. 302-310.

    "The conclusion to be drawn from this short investigation could be, first of all, that Prof, de Vogel is right when she is of the opinion that there are certain Christian features in the >Consolatio<. But this statement can be completed: these Christian elements concern Christian piety and they seem to find their source particularly in the liturgy. Boethius has been rather successful in his attempt to ban Christian theology from his philosophical dialogue, but he failed to conceal that he was a pious Christian." (p. 61)

  5. Moorhead, John. 2009. "Boethius’ Life and the World of Late Antiquity." In The Cambridge Companion to Boethius, edited by Marenbon, John, 13-22. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  6. ———. 2018. "Boethius." In The History of Evil. Vol. 2: The History of Evil in the Medieval Age: 450-1450 CE edited by Pinsent, Andew, 23-35. New York: Routledge.

  7. Moreschini, Claudio. 2014. A Christian in Toga. Boethius: Interpreter of Antiquity and Christian Theologian. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht

    Contents: Foreword 7; 1. Boethius’ great cultural project 9; 2. Philosophy and Theology in Boethius’ Opuscula Theologica 35; 3. The Consolatio Philosophiae 92; 4. 4. Boethius’ Christianity 132; Bibliography 145; Selected Sources 145; Works Cited 146; Index nominum 153-155.

    "The core of this book has its origin in the lectures I delivered at the University of Bremen in October 2011 during the annual graduate seminar “ Christentum als antike Religion” organized by Christoph Auffarth, Marvin Doebler, and Hinca Tanaseanu-Doebler.


    As it may be inferred from it, this book is neither an introduction, nor a general study on Boethius, but is meant to investigate the question of Boethius’ Christianity, secular and at the same time theologically profound. Secular, because Boethius was a layman, who did not belong to the Church, and because he used almost exclusively the heritage of Greek (and partly Latin) Neo-Platonism together with those rational tools typical of a philosophical system. On the other hand, he was thoroughly interested in the issues of contemporary Christianity, starting from Augustine, whose legacy is perceivable even when not overtly mentioned. “ The last of the Romans” (as Martin Grabman called Boethius, a designation that has generally become accepted) was therefore able to produce a synthesis, the validity of which was acknowledged throughout the Middle Ages until the rediscovery of Aristotle." (p. 7)

  8. ———. 2014. "Subsistentia according to Boethius." In Boethius as a Paradigm of Late Ancient Thought, edited by Kirchner, Andreas, Jürgasch, Thomas and Böhm, Thomas, 83-99. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

    "In Contra Eutychen et Nestorium (CEN), as is well known, Boethius offers a definition of persona and hypostasis. This definition is influenced by the dispute between the Western Christian tradition, which since Tertullian and the Arian debate normally employed persona for the persons of the Trinity, and the Greek tradition which used ‘hypostasis’. The debate was provoked by a misunderstanding, which is testified, for instance, by Gregory of Nazianzus (On The Great Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria 21, 35, delivered on 379 AD):

    „We use in an orthodox sense the terms one Essence and three Hypostases, the one to denote the nature of the Godhead, the other the properties (ἰδιότητες) of the Three; the Italians (1) mean the same, but, owing to the scantiness of their vocabulary, and its poverty of terms, they are unable to distinguish between Essence and Hypostases, and therefore introduce the term Persons, to avoid being understood to assert three Essences. The result, were it not piteous, would be laughable. This slight difference of sound was taken to indicate a difference of faith. Then, Sabellianism was suspected in the doctrine of Three Persons, Arianism in that of Three Hypostases, both being the offspring of a contentious spirit.“ (2)

    This was a momentous dispute between Oriental and Western Christianity. Boethius, thanks to his philosophical education, perceived much more than other Christian writers in the West the imprecision of the word persona: in CEN, since he is discussing the nestorian and Monophysitic Christology, he is compelled (so to say) by the Western tradition to employ persona, but he considers ‘hypostasis’ much more exact.

    Introducing, therefore, persona in philosophical or theological vocabulary is, in his opinion, not without inconveniences, which he tries to avoid. Yet just for these reasons he has to face other difficulties." (p. 83)

    (1) That is, the Western theologians when discussing Trinitarian problems.

    (2) A Select Library of the Christian Church. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2. series: vol. 7: Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory of Nazianzen, ed. by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, Peabody 1894, 279.

  9. Morton, Catherine. 1982. "Marius of Avenches, the 'Excerpta valesiana' and the death of Boethius." Traditio no. 38:107-136.

  10. Nash-Marshall, Siobhan. 2000. Participation and the Good: A Study in Boethian Metaphysics. New York: Crossroad.

    Contents: Foreword IX; Preface XIII-XIV; Part One: The Boethian Doctrine of Participation: The Problem 1; 1. Participation in the Quomodo Substantiae 5; 2. Participation in the Consolatio Philosophiae 10; 3. A Survey of Possible Methodologies 18; 4. The Direct Theoretical Approach: The Good 31; Part Two: The Good 39; 5. The Definitions of the Good 41; 6. The Two Definitions of the Good and Their Paradoxes 69; 7. The Foundations of a Solution 73; 8. The Elements of a Solution 98; 9. Outline of the Solution 108; 10. Conclusion 114; Part Three: Boethius and the Good: The Quomodo Substantiae and Consolatio Philosophiae 117; 11. The Exitus: The Quomodo Substantiae 119; 12. The Consolatio Philosophiae 186; Part Four: Participation 223; 13. The Quomodo Substantiae 225; 14. The Consolatio Philosophiae 274; Part Five: Conclusion 291; Bibliography 299; Index 305-306.

    "What Siobhan Nash-Marshall offers in this volume is a study in Hoethian metaphysics by focusing on participation and the good. Neither doctrine is unambiguous in the texts of Boethius — in fact, the prima facie claims seem contradictory and relatively obvious problems appear to go unresolved. Boethius never explicitly employs any of his axioms (let alone those that mention participation) in his explanation , of the ontological goodness of composite beings. Yet, he envisions participation as crucial for the resolution of the problem of how things can be good by virtue of their essences without thereby being substantial goodness (that is, God). The variety of definitions offered for the good in the Consolation of Philosophy sometimes invoke the notion of participation, for instance, in the claim that the human good re-stiles in one’s participation in the prime good, and yet the inclusion of such language seems directly at odds with other definitions, including the notion that the human good consists in the self-possession of one’s own being, for this cannot involve participation in anything other than one’s own nature.

    By engaging in the thoughtful reconstruction of both of these key Boethian doctrines — participation and the good — Nash-Marshall proposes a credible and sustained case for better understanding the inner logic of Boethius. But in doing so she also offers an exceptional insight into the very problems that drew Boethius to begin to articulate his own views — whether so tersely in the succinct deductions of the Quomodo or so tantalizingly unreconciled a set of affirmations that undergird the conversations of the Consolation.

    Central to her re-thinking of the issues is the assumption of the dialectic of exitus and reditus that Neoplatonists are always traversing, but to which they consciously advert as seldom as travelers do to the road itself when their minds are fixed on getting to their destination or getting back home. Yet, this simple distinction enables both the philosopher and the historian of philosophy to make better sense of the fragmentary comments in Boethius’s texts about participation. From this distinction too one gains a stance by which to reconcile the apparently contradictory claims Boethius makes about the substantive and teleological definitions of the good for composite beings. On the basis of the difference between exitus and reditus, Boethius needs to assign analogous meanings to participation which in turn help us to grasp why composite beings must already be good in their essence and yet still need to acquire the perfections appropriate to their existence by their participation in God and in their own essences.

    To grasp the inner logic of Boethius’s reasoning on these issues entails a readiness to complete the articulation of a synthesis Boethius envisioned but was unable to provide. While some scholars have thought the project impossible, Nash-Marshall ventures a thoughtful reconstruction of the connections intrinsic to his positions." (from the Foreword by Joseph W. Koterski, pp. Xi-XII)

  11. ———. 2004. "God, Simplicity, and the Consolatio Philosophiae." American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly no. 78:225-246.

    Abstract: "One of the primary concerns of the Consolatio is to draw out many of the paradoxical conclusions concerning the relation between creation and God that stem from the premises of classical creationist metaphysics, and attempt to solve them. Once one accepts that God does exist, is omnipotent, omniscient, and simple, it becomes viciously difficult to explain: (1) how anything contrary to God's will--evil--can exist; (2) how any cause can act independently of God's will--human freedom; and (3) how "independent causes" can relate to God through their own agency--human prayer. This naturally begs the question: why should we accept the premises of classical creationist metaphysics? This paper addresses this question by analyzing and defending two of the central premises of Boethius's version of classical creationist metaphysics as they are addressed in Consolatio 3,10: (a) that God exists, and (b) that God is simple."

  12. ———. 2008. "Boethius, Scholarship, and the Hebdomadibus's Axioms." Carmina Philosophiae no. 17:1-34.

  13. ———. 2012. "Boethius’s Influence on Theology and Metaphysics to c. 1500." In A Companion to Boethius in the Middle Ages, edited by Kaylor Jr., Noel Harold and Phillips, Philip Edward, 163-191. Leiden: Brill.

    "My two general points here are meant not just to give an account of the current state of Boethian affairs. They are also a caveat of sorts: no article written at the present time can hope to give an exhaustive overview of Boethius’s influence on medieval metaphysical and theological thought. There is simply too much basic work left to be done to hope for a comprehensive overview. (22) It is also true that Boethius’s influence on medieval thought is so pervasive that no article would begin to do it justice.

    In what follows, I will attempt merely to sketch a partial picture of that influence, based both on current manuscript work and, above all, on an impartial recognition of Boethius’s originality as a thinker. The sketch will be divided into two primary parts. In the first part, it will outline and broadly discuss the characteristics of Boethius’s thought and their significance with respect to the development of medieval thought. In the second, it will briefly present the history of the process through which medievals came to appropriate Boethian texts and thought. The second part will itself be divided into two sections, which will deal with the logical and the “theological” texts respectively." (p. 171)

    (22) This is one of Troncarelli's complaints with respect to the status of studies of medieval manuscripts of the Consolatio. See, on this point, Fabio Troncarelli, Cogitatio Mentis. L'eredità di Boezio nell'alto Medioevo (Naples, 2005), p. 9: “Se esaminiamo, ad esempio, le edizioni critiche della Consolatio, ci rendiamo conto che un uso poco coerente dei manoscritti ha generato una condizione di confusione, in conseguenza della quale è assai difficile stabilire se alcune questioni siano irrisolvibili o, piuttosto, non siano state ancora risolte"... (If, for example, we examine the critical editions of the Consolatio, we will realize that the hardly coherent use of the manuscripts has generated a condition of confusion, the consequence of which mas made it very difficult to establish if certain questions are unrcsolvablc, or, on the other hand, have as yet to be resolved...]

  14. O'Daly, Gerard. 1991. The Poetry of Boethius. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

    "To label the poetry of the Consolation ‘didactic’ is too simplistic a response to its many functions, unless we are aware of the importance and value of moral and metaphysical reflection and instruction in Greek and Roman cultural life, and in literature as well as philosophy. This book has explored several of the traditions of which the Consolation is a beneficiary, and to which it contributes. It has attempted to show that a responsive reading of Boethius’ work depends upon a realization of the many kinds of allusiveness in that work. Virgil, Ovid, and Senecan tragedy, no less than Plato and the Neoplatonists, Cicero’s philosophical writings, and Epictetus, form the imaginative and intellectual world of the Consolation. In this world the art of poetry has its privileged place. We cannot know what sense Boethius may have had of writing at the end of a long tradition: it is unlikely that he saw with the clarity which historical hindsight has given us that he was, in Gibbon’s words, 'the last of the Romans whom Cato or Tully could have acknowledged for their countryman’. The Consolation of Philosophy has often been regarded as the final chapter of ancient philosophy. This book has endeavoured to show that its cultural importance is much wider: when Boethius sought consolation in his captivity, he was also consoled by the idioms and images of Latin poetry, and his own poetry is a late and subtle flowering of that art form." (pp. 236-237)

  15. O'Donnell, James J. 2011. "Why Boethius Had to Die." In "Omnium Magistra Virtututm": Studies in Honour of Danuta R. Shanzer, edited by Cain, Andrew and Hays, Gregory, 73-92. Turnhout: Brepols.

  16. Obertello, Luca. 1981. "Proclus, Ammonius and Boethius on Divine Knowledge." Dionysius no. 5:127-164.

    "Whoever undertakes to treat of Boethius finds himself in illustrious company. Potentates, churchmen, scholastics, and philosophers have busied themselves with this “ last of the Romans.”

    It would appear that but little remains to be said on such a well worn subject. Much less does it seem fitting in a beginner to essay that little. Yet, as the recent researches of Usener and Brandt and the acute suggestions of Rand have marked an epoch in Boethiana, one may hope to gain still further insight into the character and mode of thought of the author of the Consolatio. With this purpose in view, by the help of the so-called stylistic method, I intend to examine the writings of Boethius, in case it may be possible more accurately to place works the dates of which are not yet certain."


    "For a definition of the meaning of stylistic method, and an illustration of its application, I may refer to the well-known work of Lutoslawski, entitled The origin and growth of Plato' s logic with an account of Plato's style and of the chronology of his writings, 1897." (p. 127)


    "Bearing in mind the foregoing facts, we are now ready to take up our chronological study of the writings of Boethius. Any such research must be based on the painstaking and masterly investigation (1) of Samuel Brandt. Utilizing all the references made by Boethius to his own writings, he has fixed beyond all question the chronology of most of the works.

    He has made out an almost complete framework, leaving now and then a gap of more or less uncertainty which, I hope, may be at least partly supplied by my investigations." (p. 130)


    "Having thus traversed the whole series of Boethius’s extant writings, I may briefly recapitulate the results of this examination. The so-called stylistic method is a recognized form of investigation, applied notably in the case of Plato. In any stylistic study of Boethius two traits must be taken into account. There is, first, the influence of translation on his style. Translation tends to explain new phenomena in style. It tends to unification of vocabulary. Its influence is more transient than one might anticipate. The second trait is Boethius’s marked desire for variety.

    Bearing these influences in mind and basing my study on Professor Brandt’s researches as a framework, I have shown that works of a given period agree and works of a different period disagree. Then I classified them stylistically, giving up Professor Brandt’s classification, based on subject matter. I have shown that my criteria fit in exactly with all the arguments, inductive and deductive, that Professor Brandt has formulated." (p. 153)

    (1) [Samuel Brandt,] 'Entstehungszeit und zeitliche Folge der Werke von Boethius', Philologus, LXII, [1903] pp. 141-154; 234-279. See also his edition of the Commentaries of Boethius on Porphyry’s Isagoge, 1906, pp. XXVI ff., LXXIX ff., and cf. below, p. 155.

  17. Papahagi, Adrian. 2009. "The Transmission of Boethius’ De Consolatione Philosophiae in the Carolingian Age." Medium Aevum no. 78:1-13.

  18. Patch, Howard Rollin. 1929. "Fate in Boethius and the Neoplatonists." Speculum no. 4:62-72.

    "The great figure of the orb of destiny in the Fourth Book of the Consolatio Philosophiae is the means used by Boethius to present his unusual conception of a mutable Fate. The stability of the centre is occupied by Providence; all else controlled by the turning sphere is subject to Fate, who, however, by this very fact is also subservient to God. The whole idea, justly famous and well known to later writers, immediately suggested to many the corresponding idea that Fate's more customarily fickle sister, Fortune, is also subject to God, and thus helped to give us the Christian conception of Fortune.' Brief study will show, nevertheless, that the mutability of Fate is probably not original with Boethius; and the whole passage has been traced, with apparent satisfaction among scholars, to the works of Proclus. It is my intention here to offer a different explanation, and to suggest that more important problems are involved than have so far been appreciated." (p. 62)

  19. ———. 1935. The Tradition of Boethius: A Study of His Importance in Medieval Culture. New York: Oxford University Press.

  20. ———. 1935. "Necessity in Boethius and the Neoplatonists." Speculum no. 10:393-404.

    " Necessity, one had always supposed, admits of no conditions. Release for man in this fashion is startling, and at first sight the solution may appear like a verbal device to escape from a logical dilemma. But it has a more dignified basis in reasoning than that. As a brief review of its history will show, Boethius did not invent the conception. His originality consisted rather in the way in which he adapted it to his purpose.

    A study of the force of necessity in the scheme of things, as he saw it, will show that in his references to the frame of nature and the power of fate he is loyal to most of its implications and shows no willingness to ignore them. (3) For his sufferings in prison the idea would have afforded him a natural consolation. But his courage was too great and his moral integrity too vigorous to let the question rest there, and he pressed his search further until he found justification for a belief in some degree of human freedom although that also implies moral responsibility. In fact he obviously strove to justify such responsibility together with its appropriate reward of pleasure or pain. In his debate he was guided partly by the treatise De Prouidentia et Fato of Proclus; I have elsewhere pointed out hints for the plan of his discussion that were available to him there.1 But he added material from other sources, and Proclus did not give him his present solution. The process by which his theory of conditional necessity was first thought of and then elaborated may be possible to discover. In following something of the distinguished history of the phrase we may actually have the opportunity of seeing Boethius at work, and, although the centuries that intervene since his day must make anyone cautious about jumping at conclusions, some light may be thrown on his method in composing the book." (pp. 393-394)

    (3) Cf. Contra Eutychen et Nest., i, 45 ff. (Boethius, etc. H. F. Stewart and E. K. Rand, London, 1918, Loeb Libr., p. 80), and Cons. Philos., v, pr. iii.

  21. ———. 1947. "The Beginnings of the Legend of Boethius." Speculum no. 22:443-445.

  22. ———. 1967. The Goddess Fortuna in Mediaeval Literature. New York: Octagon Books.

  23. Pessin, Sarah. 1999. "Hebdomads: Boethius Meets the Neopythagoreans." Journal of the History of Philosophy no. 37:29-48.

    "The thesis of this article si three-fold. First, I suggest, uncontroversially, that Boethius was in many ways influenced by Neopythagorean ideas. Second, I recommend that in light of our appreciation of his Neopythagorean inclinations in at least some of his writings, we understand his esoteric reference to the “ hebdomads” — at the outset of his treatise often called by that name — as a reference to something Neopythagorean. This I suggest in light of the fact that, as I will discuss, the “ hebdomad” plays an important role within the Neopythagorean literature of Nicomachus of Gerasa, an author with whose writings Boethius was intimately familiar. Lastly, I suggest— following Dillon’s analysis of the Triad and the Hebdomad within Nicomachus’ works [*] — an interpretation of the ‘hebdomad’ within the Neopythagorean corpus which, if correct, would make appropriate Boethius’ reference to it at the outset of a treatise on the nature of God and creation." (p. 29)

    [* John Dillon, The Middle Platonists (New York: Cornell, 1977).]

  24. ———. 2001. "Boethius and the Neoplatonic Good: Hebdomads and the Nature of God in the Quomodo Substantiae." Carmina Philosophiae no. 10:57-72.

  25. Phillips, Edward Philip. 2001. "Boethius's De Consolatione Philosophiae and the Lamentatio/Consolatio Tradition." Medieval English Studies no. 9:5-27.

    Abstract: "While some critics argue that Boethius's De Consolatione Philosophiae participates in the tradition of Menippean satire, this paper maintains that Boethius's masterpiece is primarily a consolation that employs topics of the lamentatio/consolatio tradition in order to dramatize the fallen narrator's educational journey from despair to hope, a journey facilitated by Lady Philosophy, who assumes the significant roles of Socratic teacher and spiritual physician. The paper argues, furthermore, that the Consolation is not a bitter, satirical work but rather a work of philosophical optimism whose consolation, both for the grieving narrator and for the reader, is based upon the premise that the universe is governed by eternal reason, a belief initially “forgotten” by the narrator but eventually restored through the application of Lady Philosophy's “gentler” and “stronger” remedies."

  26. ———. 2014. "Boethius, the Prisoner, and The Consolation of Philosophy." In Prison Narratives from Boethius to Zana, edited by Phillips, Edward Philip, 11-33. New York: Palgrave Mcmillan.

  27. Pinzani, Roberto. 2018. "Elements of Boethian Ontology." Noctua no. 5:1-31.

  28. ———. 2018. The Problem of Universals from Boethius to John of Salisbury. Leiden: Brill.

  29. Porwoll, Robert J. 2008. ""This Indeed May Seem Strange to Some": Boethius on the Non-Being and Inhumanity of "Evil Men"." Carmina Philosophiae no. 17:57-79.

  30. Rand, Edward Kennard. 1904. "On the Composition of Boethius' Consolatio Philosophiae." Harvard Studies in Classical Philology no. 15:1-28.

    Reprinted in Manfred Fuhrmann und Joachim Gruber (Hrsg.), Boethius, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1984, pp. 249-277.

    "Hermann Usener whose justly admired interpretation of the Anecdoton Holderi (*) has done more than any single publication toward restoring Boethius to his rightful place among the Christian theologians, suggests in this work a theory with regard to the composition of the Consolatio, to which nobody hitherto has devoted the consideration it deserves." (p. 1)


    "The object of the present paper is not to attempt an ultimate determination of the various writings from which Boethius drew inspiration, but merely, as a precursor to such a study, to discuss Usener’s theory regarding the composition of the Consolatio, Naturally we may best approach our subject by examining in turn the four elements into which Usener analyzes this work— the poetry, the prose introduction, the chapters from Aristotle’s Protreptikos, and the Neoplatonic section." (pp. 3-4)


    "The Consolatio does not, like the Opuscula Sacra, deal directly with problems of Christian theology, but it is the work of a Christian theologian who holds fast the distinction between fides and ratio. There are naturally no traces of Christian doctrine in the Consolatio, for the reason that Philosophy speaks and not Faith. Boethius is trying by the unaided effort of the reason to establish a theodicy for which revelation has its own proofs, and for this reason, inevitably, recurs to the utterances of the schools and not the councils. But, be it noted, the solution at which he arrives, though expressed consistently in terms of Philosophy, is at one with the conclusion of Theology: reason could not prove something contradictory of faith. (1) Sometimes we meet a doctrine that would not have

    been accredited by St. Thomas (that of the world’s perpetuity, for instance), because it had not been definitely excluded from orthodoxy when Boethius wrote. (2) Sometimes Boethius includes what would doubtless have been dangerous in contemporary theology, as, for instance, the Neoplatonic imagery in 5, pr. 2. But these are matters of detail. The general scheme of the Consolatio is in harmony with Christian theology.

    Nor need we ponder why Boethius chose a philosophical rather than a theological consolation in his last hours. Schrockh remarks, (3) “ Unwiirdig waren sie (i. e. philosophische Trostgriinde) doch eines christlichen Gelehrten nicht. Es sind sehr nahe mit seiner Religion verwandte Grtinde; es ist der letzte und edelste Erfolg seiner vieljahrigen philosophischen Untersuchungen.” The fundamental aim of the work is to make the language of philosophy approach as closely as possible to the meaning of faith; for Boethius was neither a Pagan, nor a cold eclectic, nor a dilettante reviser of others’ texts, but the first of the scholastics." (pp. 27-28)

    (*) Anecdoton Holderi, ein Beitrag zur Geschichte Roms in ostgothischer Zeit, Bonn (Leipzig, Teubner), 1877 [A new edition of this text is available: Alain Galonnier, 'Anecdoton Holderi ou Ordo generis Cassiodororum, Introduction, édition, traduction et commentaire', Antiquité tardive, 4, 1996, pp. 299-312.]

    (1) This point is clearly expressed in an admirable discussion of this matter by Schrockh, Christliche Kirchengeschichte, 1792, Theil 16, p. 99 ff., a work quoted by Nitzsch, Das System des Boethius, Berlin, i860, p. 33, and Dräseke, ['Ueber die theologischen Schriften des Boethius',] Jahrbuch für Protestantische Theologie, XII, 1886, p. 327, and deserving still wider recognition by students of Boethius.

    (2) See Jahrbuch für Protestantische Theologie, Supplement. XXVI, p. 427.

    (3) Op. cit., p. 118.

  31. ———. 1928. Founders of the Middle Ages. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    Reprinted New York: Dover Publications, 1957; see Chapter 5, pp. 135-180.

  32. Raudenbush Olmsted, Wendy. 1989. "Philosophical Inquiry and Religious Transformation in Boethius's "The Consolation of Philosophy" and Augustine's "Confessions"." The Journal of Religion no. 69:14-35.

  33. Reiss, Edmund. 1981. "The Fall of Boethius and the Fiction of the "Consolatio Philosophiae"." The Classical Journal no. 77:37-47.

  34. ———. 1982. Boethius. Boston: Twayne.

    Contents: About the Author II; Preface III; Chronology VII; Chapter One: The Master of the Arts 1; Chapter Two: The Explorer of Language 28; Chapter Three: The Concerned Christian 55; Chapter Four: The Martyr and the Consolation of Philosophy 80; Chapter Five: The Argument of the Consolation 103; Chapter Six: Form and Method in the Consolation 131; Chapter Seven: The Boethian Legacy 154; Notes and References 163; Selected Bibliography 192; Index 198-203.

    "For all of his acknowledged importance in the development of Western thought and literature, however, Boethius is at present hardly a household name in either Europe or America. It is difficult to think of any other literary figure who has plummeted from such heights of prestige to such depths of oblivion. Whereas from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century every educated person in the Western world knew Boethius’s name, now he is virtually unknown to all except advanced students of classical and medieval thought and literature. Because of this neglect, which has come about only in the twentieth century, it is necessary to insist on a greatness that would otherwise seem obvious. Still, Boethius is too important—and too interesting—to be known only by the few who have had occasion to come to him through their study of something else.

    The principal barrier facing anyone wishing to study Boethius is not so much the remoteness of his age or the difficulty of his language—real as these hurdles are—but the need for expertise in mathematics, music, logic, rhetoric, theology, metaphysics, and poetry; and few modern scholars possess Boethius’s breadth and depth of knowlédge. Though readers of Boethius may find common ground in the Consolation of Philosophy, those interested in the thought and poetry, for instance, are not likely to make the effort to study the scientific and logical treatises. Understandable as this may be, the result is the present fragmented state of Boethian studies where historians, students of literature, logicians, theologians, musicologists, and medievalists concentrate on writings pertinent to their individual fields and have little to say to those working in the other areas. While the bibliography of scholarly writings on Boethius is large, few articles or books are concerned with his total literary output. For instance, the last full-length study in English of Boethius—published forty years ago—includes only two pages on the scientific writings and three pages on the logical works.

    Although as a student of literature I cannot pretend to have the expertise or the interest necessary for explicating Boethius’s more technical and arcane treatises, I can at least try to make clear what each of these works is doing and relate them to each other in such a way that modern readers may acquire a sense of their meaning and accomplishment. And I can certainly suggest some of the many reassessments of Boethius and his work that have come about in the last forty years. My purpose is to introduce Boethius to the student and the general reader and to reaffirm his achievements and importance. While my particular interests are in understanding the interrelationship of the different writings and in examining how the Consolation of Philosophy, detached from the legend of Boethius the martyr, functions as a finely wrought piece of literature, I have tried to say something—and in some cases something new—about each work.

    Chapter 1 concerns Boethius’s early life and scientific writings; Chapter 2, his logical treatises; and Chapter 3, his theological tractates. Chapter 4 examines his later life and its relationship to the Consolation of Philosophy; Chapter 3, the argument of the Consolation; and Chapter 6, Boethius’s patterning of his material in this work. Finally, Chapter 7 looks briefly at Boethius’s legacy and its importance to the Western world." (pp. (pp. IV-V)

  35. Relihan, Joel C. 1990. "Old Comedy, Menippean Satire, and Philosophy's Tattered Robes in Boethius' Consolation." Illinois Classical Studies no. 15:183-194.

  36. ———. 2007. The Prisoner's Philosophy. Life and Death in Boethius's "Consolation". Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.

    Preface IX; Texts, Translations, Terminology, Dramatis Personae XIII; Chapter One. The Ironic Consolation and Its Reception 1; Chapter Two. Two Digressions and a Pointed Conclusion 15; Chapter Three. Universality and Particularity 34; Chapter Four. Consolation and the Genre of Consolation 47; Chapter Five. Death and Meditation 59; Chapter Six. The Odyssey of Consolation 75; Chapter Seven. Models and Rewritings 93; Chapter Eight. The Menippcan Boethius in the Personification Allegories of the Middle Ages, bv William E. Heise 111; Chapter Nine. The Wisdom of Boethius 127; Appendix I. Latin Texts: Consolation 4.1; 5.1; 5.6.44-48 137; Appendix 2. Boethius, In de interpretatione2 3.9, 221.27-227.12 Meiser 141; Appendix 3. Maximian, Elegy 3 147; Appendix 4.

    Agathias Scholasticus, Greek Anthology. 11.354 155; Notes 158; References 206; Index 217.

    "Both response and resistance to a dozen years of scholarly activity have proved fruitful. A number of works appeared immediately after the publication of Ancient Menippean Satire [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993]"


    "Classicists and medievalists may be surprised to discover how popular the term Menippean satire has become in discussions of modern literature, and how many works have been claimed to fall under its influence, among them Tristram Shandy, Moby Dick, and Gravity's Rainbow. Such contemporary critical approaches to the genre offer welcome insight into the intellectual enterprise of Consolation, but Boethius rarely finds a place in them."


    "Granted, Consolation is awkwardly poised between the usual traditions and divisions of Western literature, but the fundamental problem is the general lack of recognition that Consolation is critical of the intellectual synthesis that it both presents and undermines, that it is both philosophical and ironic. I wish to place Consolation in the genre’s vital center, which I understand more in terms of the parody of encyclopedic knowledge than in the exaltation of polyphony; my debts to Northrop Frye's anatomy are ultimately greater than those to Bakhtin. The questions that need to be raised and answered about Consolation have to do with plot and intertextuality, with irony and the presentation of wisdom, with literary history and a many-branched reception. Modernists must be called to take Boethius into account; classicists must be urged not to allow their knowledge of late antiquity and its philosophical and religious traditions to determine the interpretation of the text, but to let an understanding of the Menippean Consolation modify their understanding of late antique culture."


    "I used to rake the Christian presence in Consolation more as a latent thing, as the path not taken, as the wav out of Philosophy’s labyrinth that is hinted at but never achieved. But, emboldened by the work of others, I now see it much more actively at work—the prayer advocated at the end is not the philosophical path to God that Philosophy had earlier intended the prisoner to travel, but a different, Christian path that the prisoner chooses, offered grudgingly by a Philosophy forced to admit that her intended approach docs not quite satisfy or console this particular patient, a Philosophy who wanted to lead but who ultimately only can point him to his true home. Boethius is truer to Plato by not being as optimistic as Augustine: there is no logical path, and certainly no trivial or quadrivial path, that leads from the world of human logic and perception to the divine realm. What is most remarkable about Consolation, in its relation to Platonic and Christian worlds, is that the author tries so hard to resist apocalypse, and that the narrator is neither an Er nor a Scipio nor a St. John nor a Plotinus. After all of its intellectual heavy weather, Consolation is about humble access to God through prayer, not revelation." (from the Preface, IX-XI).

  37. Rijk, Lambertus Marie de. 1988. "On Boethius' Notion of Being. A Chapter of Boethian Semantics." In Meaning and Inference in Medieval Philosophy. Studies in Memory of Jan Pinborg, edited by Kretzmann, Norman, 1-29. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

    Reprinted as chapter I in: L. M. de Rijk, Through Language to Reality. Studies in Medieval Semantics and Metaphysics, edited by E. P. Bos, Northampton: Variourum Reprints, 1989.

    "From Parmenides onwards, ancient and medieval thought had a special liking for metaphysical speculation. No doubt, speculative thought was most influentially outlined by Plato and Aristotle. However, what the Christian thinkers achieved in metaphysics was definitely more than just applying and adapting what was handed down to them. No student of medieval speculative thought can help being struck by the peculiar fact that whenever fundamental progress was made, it was theological problems which initiated the development. This applies to St Augustine and Boethius, and to the great medieval masters as well (such as Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus). Their speculation was, time and again, focused on how the notion of being and the whole range of our linguistic tools can be applied to God's Nature (Being).

    It is no wonder, then, that an inquiry into Boethius's notion of being should be concerned, first and foremost, with his theological treatises, especially De hebdomadibus.


    My final section aims at showing how Boethius's notion of being is clearly articulated in accordance with his semantic distinctions. This is most clearly seen in the main argument of De hebdomadibus where they may be actually seen at work.

    As is well known, the proper aim of De hebdomadibus is to point out the formal difference between esse and esse bonum, or in Boethius's words: 'the manner in which substances are good in virtue of their being, while not yet being substantially good' (38.2-4). Its method consists in a careful application of certain formal distinctions, viz.:

    (a) The distinction between an object 'when taken as a subsistent whole and id quod est = the constitutive element which causes the object's actually' being; it is made in Axiom II and used in Axiom IV.

    (b) The distinction (closely related to the preceding one) obtaining between the constitutive element effecting the object's actual being (forma essendi, or ipsum esse) and the object's actuality as such (id quod est or ipsum est); it is made in Axioms VII and VIII.

    (c) The distinction between esse as 'pure being' (= nihil aliud praeter se habens admixtum), which belongs to any form, whether substantial or incidental, and id quod est admitting of some admixture (lit. 'something besides what it is itself'); it is made in Axiom IV and in fact implies the distinction between esse simpliciter and esse aliquid.

    (d) The distinction between 'just being some thing', tantum esse aliquid, and 'being something qua mode of being'. It is made in Axiom V and used in Axiom VI and is in fact concerned with a further distinction made within the notion of id quod est. It points out the differences between the effect caused by some form as constitutive of being some thing and that caused by the main constituent (forma essendi) which causes an object's being simpliciter.

    (e) The distinction between two different modes of participation, one effecting an object's being subsistent, the other its being some thing, where the 'some thing' (aliquid) refers to some (non-subsistent) quality such as 'being white', 'being wise', 'being good', etc.

    The application of these distinctions enables Boethius to present a solution to the main problem: although the objects (ea quae sunt, plural of id quod est) are (are good) through their own constitutive element, being (being good), nevertheless they are not identical with their constitutive element nor (a fortioriwith the IPSUM ESSE (BONUM ESSE) of which their constituent is only a participation." (pp. 1 and 22-23).

  38. ———. 2003. "Boethius on De interpretatione (ch. 3): is he a reliable guide?" In Boèce ou la chaîne des savoirs, edited by Galonnier, Alain, 207-227. Louvain-Paris: Éditions Peeters.

    "There can be no doubt whatsoever about Boethius's exceptional merits for transmitting Aristotle's logic to us. But while 'Aristotelian' logic is in many respects synonymous with 'Aristotelico-Boethian' logic, the question can be raised whether Aristotle himself was an 'Aristotelian'. To give just one example: from Lukasiewicz onwards there has been much debate among scholars about the telling differences between traditional syllogistic and that of the Prior Analytics. (1)

    In this paper I intend to deal with two specimens of Boethius's way of commenting upon Aristotle's text. They are found in his discussion of De interpretatione, chapters 2 and 3, which present Aristotle's views of ónoma and rhema. (2) One concerns the semantics of indefinite names, the other that of isolated names and verbs." (p. 227)

    (1) Jan Lukasiewicz, Aristotle's Syllogistic from the Standpoint of Modern Formal Logic, Oxford, 1951. G. Patzig, Aristotle's Theory of the Syllogism. A Logico-Philological Study of Book A of the Prior Analytics, Dordrecht, 1969.

    (2) Rhema properly stands for 'what is said of', including not only our 'verb' but also adjectives, when used in attributive position. One should realise, however, that 'verb' refers to a word class, rather than a semantic or syntactical category, as rhema does.



    Returning now to Boethius' manner of commenting upon Aristotle's texts, the following points can be made:

    [1] In the wake of Ammonius, (3) Boethius explains [De int.] 16b22-25 on the apophantic level, i.e. in terms of statement-making, instead of framing significative concepts, i.e. on the onomastic level.

    [2] Whereas in Ammonius' report of the predecessors, Alexander and Porphyry, as well as his own exposition of the issue, there are many clues to the previous alternative reading and interpretation on the onomastic level, Boethius does not even refrain from cleansing the text (including his 'quotations'), by changing, at any occurrence, 'ens' into 'est'.

    [3] In doing so, Boethius decisively influenced the commentary tradition on account of the purport of De int. 3, 16b19-25. He effectively contributed to the common verdict on this paragraph in terms of 'a curious medley'.

    [4] As far as the semantics of the indefinite verb (3, 16b14-15) is concerned, Boethius' apparently adhering to the so-called 'Ammonii recensio' was far less desastrous for the common understanding of Aristotle on this score, and, in effect, merely provided us with some stimulating Medieval discussions of the semantics of term infinitation.

    [5] Finally by way of speculative surmise, it might be suggested that both the fact that Boethius dealt with the 'Ammonii recognise' without reading it in his lemma of 16b14-15, as well as his rather ruthlessly interfering in the quotations of the pre-Ammonian sources, should make it more plausible that Boethius had extensive, but incomplete marginal notes to his Greek text of Aristotle at his disposal, rather than a full copy of Ammonius' commentary (or those of other Greek commentators).

    To comment upon Aristotle's work naturally includes developing his lore. But nothing can ever guarantee that this will happen ad mentem auctoris. (4)"

    (3) It is unmistakably plain that in De int. ch. 3, Boethius is strongly influenced by what he read in Ammonius (or in marginal notes on Ammonius' view).

    (4) Cf. the interesting paper on this subject by Frans A.J. de Haas, "Survival of the Fittest? Mutations of Aristotle's Method of Inquiry in Late Antiquity" (forthcoming). [Conference: The Dynamics of Natural Philosophy in the Aristotelian Tradition (and beyond), Nijmegen, 16-20 August 1999.]

  39. Rogers, Katherin. 2011. "Defending Boethius: Two Case Studies in Charitable Interpretation." International Philosophical Quarterly no. 51:241-257.

    Abstract: "Among those who study medieval philosophy there is a divide between historians and philosophers. Sometimes the historians chide the philosophers for failing to appreciate the historical factors at work in understanding a text, a philosopher, a school, or a system. But sometimes the philosopher may justly criticize the historian for failing to engage the past philosopher adequately as a philosopher. Here I defend a philosophically charitable methodology and offer two examples, taken from John Marenbon’s book Boethius, as instances where exercising more philosophical charity would likely have resulted in more adequate or complete interpretations. The examples are taken from Marenbon’s analyses of the conclusion of Boethius’s discussion of freedom and divine foreknowledge and of Boethius’s argument against Euthyche’s understanding of the Incarnation."

  40. Santamaria, Anthony. 2007. "In Pursuit of Happiness: The Platonic and Aristotelian Harmony in The Consolation of Philosophy." Carmina Philosophiae no. 16:71-99.

  41. Scarry, Elaine. 1980. "The Well-Rounded Sphere: The Metaphysical Structure of The Consolation of Philosophy." In Essays in the Numerical Criticism of Medieval Literature, edited by Echardt, Caroline D., 91-140. Lewisburg: Bucnell University Press.

    "The specific aesthetic structure of the Consolation has until recently been ignored. Earlier commentary on its structure tended to stress the generic influence of such classical forms as “consolation literature” (Cicero, Seneca), “incentives to philosophy” (Aristotle, Cicero), and "Menippean satire.” Emphasis on these genres has inevitably carried with it the implication that a hard center of thought and feeling must be made palatable by presentation in a leisurely style. Even E. K. Rand’s admiring consideration of the Consolation occasionally threatens to slip into the diminutive: “To vary the presentation, to break the flow of dialogue, a number of little poems are interspersed —thirty-nine in all—which now sum up the argument of the preceding prose section, and now themselves carry it on.”(1) While the leisurely element of the work should be recognized, the words of Boethius in Quomodo Substantia should be remembered: “[I] would rather bury my speculations in my own memory than share them with any of those pert and frivolous persons who will not tolerate an argument unless it is made amusing.” The “leisure” of the Consolation might be more accurately described as the grace with which Boethius presents a rigorously premeditated structure. It is in part by understanding the logic of that structure, its aesthetic integrity, that the passion of the author’s conviction and the power of his Consolation are made accessible to the contemporary reader.

    As this essay will show, the structure of the work reflects and sustains the idea of the work. The circular relation of form and content is immediately suggested by the title “consolation of philosophy”: Philosophy originally consoles Boethius (book 1) so that he will be receptive to philosophy, by means of which he may eventually attain philosophy and so be consoled (book 5). Philosophy is the cause of its own consummation; philosophy is the cause of the consummation of consolation; consolation is the cause of its own consummation; consolation is the cause of the consummation of philosophy. Knowledge and happiness are one in the co-incidence of form (cause) and idea (end). The consistency with which form recapitulates idea will be shown after first suggesting Boethius’s attitude toward this circularity." (pp. 92-93, notes omitted).

  42. Shanzer, Danuta. 1983. "'Me Quoque Excellentior': Boethius, De Consolatione 4. 6. 38." The Classical Quarterly no. 33:277-283.

  43. ———. 1984. "The Death of Boethius and the 'Consolation of Philosophy'." Hermes no. 112:352-366.

  44. ———. 2009. "Interpreting the Consolation." In The Cambridge Companion to Boethius, edited by Marenbon, John, 228-254. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  45. Sharples, Robert W. 2009. "Fate, Prescience and Free Will." In The Cambridge Companion to Boethius, edited by Marenbon, John, 207-227. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  46. Shiel, James. 1957. "Boethius and Andronicus of Rhodes." Vigiliae Christianae no. 11:179-185.

  47. Silk, Edmund T. 1939. "Boethius's Consolatio Philosophiae as a Sequel to Augustine's Dialogues and Soliloquia." The Harvard Theological Review no. 32:19-39.

  48. Silveira, Daniela. 2014. "God's Attributes in Boethius' De Consolatione Philosophiae and Opuscula Sacra." In Coexistence ad Cooperation in the Middle Ages: IV European Congress of Medieval Studies F.I.D.E.M. (Fédération Internationale des Instituts d’Études Médiévales) 23-­27 june 2009, Palermo (Italy), edited by Musco, Alessandro and Musotto, Giuliaa, 1421-1428. Palermo: Officina di Studi Medievali.

  49. Simpson, Peter. 1988. "The Definition of Person: Boethius Revisited." The New Scholasticism no. 62:210-220.

    "Persona est rationalis naturae individua substantia. So runs the classic definition of Boethius. (1) But is it a definition that is still of value? Or, to put it another way, is this the sort of definition that will serve for a philosophy of persons?

    Certainly it is not Boethius’s definition that is operative in contemporary discussions about persons. (2)" p. 210


    "In conclusion then, I think it may be said that Boethius’s definition is by no means an obvious non-starter for the philosophy of person. In fact in many respects it may be the best one. In which case a philosophy of person grounded on that definition is going to be

    more accurate and more compelling than others. It will also direct attention back to key ideas such as nature, reason and substance, that are in particular need of close analysis, and which may yield more fruitful results than even the term ‘person’ by itself, or any of the moral and other features mentioned earlier. Such a philosophy of person may prove to be a better way to sort out the problems of person than any current alternative." (p. 220)

    (1) “A person is an individual substance of a rational nature.” The definition is given in Boethius’s Liber de Persona et Duabus Naturis, ch. 3.

    (2) It is notable that the most recent article on persons in The New Scholasticism rather summarily dismisses Boethius: D. O Dahlstrom, “Personal Pleasure”, The New Scholasticism, LX, 1986, pp. 276- 277. I respond to this article later.

  50. Sommaggio, Paolo. 2005. "Boethius’ Definition of Persona: A fundamental Principle of Modern Legal Thought." In Epistemology and Ontology. IVR-Symposium Lund 2003, edited by Bankowski, Zenon, 163-170. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner.

    "The definition is set out in the Opuscula Sacra, which with all probability date back to 512. Amid the conflicts that followed the Council of Calcedon. and therefore in a period dense with intricate political and religious events, Boethius wrote these Opuscula. As he did so, he addressed the problem of giving rigorous definition to the concept of person.

    The first of the Opuscula was De Trinitate, the second Utrum Pater et Filius et Spiritus Sanctus substantialiter praedicentur, the third De hebdomadibus (Quomodo substantiae in eo quod sint bonae...); the fourth De fide catholica, and the fifth the Liber de persona et duabus naturis contra Eutychen et Nestorium, thereafter known more simply as Contra Eutychen et Nestorium.

    The most interesting of the Opuscula for my purposes here is the last of them, because it contains the definition of person that made Boethius famous in his own lifetime (5).

    The Council of Calcedon had laid down the celebrated formula that in Christ there are two natures and one person. In the introduction to his Treatise. Boethius points out that the premises established by the Council lead only to four possible conclusions: 1. that in Christ there are two natures and two persons, as Nestorius maintained: 2. that there is one nature and one person, as Eutychus claimed; 3. that there are two natures and one person, as the Catholic faith affirmed; 4. that there is one nature and two persons - though this conclusion, Boethius wrote, was so nonsensical that no heresy affirmed it. Boethius' main concern was to structure his work with clear and unambiguous language.

    According to Boethius, it is entirely legitimate to enquire as to the unitary definition of the term person, in that the philosophy and theology of ancient Christianity had failed to give it a precise definition. In order to understand what was meant by the word, he analysed the concept of nature which, in fact, has a broader meaning than person and to some extent is its genus proximus." (p. 166)

    (5) Boezio, Contra Eutychen et Nestorium, PL 64 1343, Caput III, 1-6. 'Quocirca si persona in solis substantiis est atque in his rationibus, substantiaque omnis natura est, nec in universalibus sed in individuabilibus sed in individuis constat, reperta personae est igitur definitio: persona est naturae rationa(bi)lis individua substantia'. See also Marshall, 'Boethius' Definition of Persona and Medieval Understanding of The Roman Theatre, in Speculum. Camb. (Mass.), vol. XXV (1950). pp. Q71-482."

  51. Sorabji, Richard. 1983. Time, Creation, and the Continuum: Theories in Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. London: Duckwoth.

    See pp. 119-120 and pp. 253–267.

  52. Spade, Vincent. Boethius against Universals: Arguments in the Second Commentary on Porphyry 1996.

    Available on-line at

    "Apart from his Consolation of Philosophy, perhaps the most well known text of Boethius is his discussion of universals in the Second Commentary on Porphyry’s Isagoge. In that passage, he first reviews the arguments for and against the existence of universal entities, and then offers a theory he attributes to Alexander of Aphrodisias, a kind of theory called in recent times “moderate realism,” according to which there are no universal entities in the ontology of the world, but nevertheless there is an objective, non-arbitrary basis for the formation of our universal or general concepts about that world. At the very end of the passage, Boethius adds the intriguing comment that he has presented this view not necessarily because it is his own, but because it is the one that fits Aristotle’s doctrine the best, and Porphyry’s Isagoge, the work Boethius is commenting on, is intended after all as an introduction to Aristotle’s Categories. (2)

    There are many interesting things about this passage, not the least of which is that it is an early example of a form that would later be codified in the scholastic quaestio: a yes/no question is stated (or in general some question expressed in terms of an exclusive dichotomy), then arguments are presented on both sides, pro and con, the author gives his own answer to the question, and finally (although this part of what would become the classic form is missing from Boethius’ discussion) the arguments for the losing side of the question are answered.

    I do not intend to discuss the whole of Boethius’ passage in this paper, and in fact will not even be saying very much about Boethius’ own theory of universals in the passage — if indeed it contains his own theory. What I want to focus on instead is just one part of the discussion’s quaestio structure: the preliminary statement of the case against universals." (pp. 1-2, note 1 omitted)

    (2) See ibid., p. 25, § (37).

  53. Speer, Andreas. 2011. "The Division of Metaphysical Discourses: Boethius, Thomas Aquinas and Meister Eckhart." In Philosophy and Theology in the Long Middle Ages: a tribute to Stephen F. Brown, edited by Emery, Kent jr., Friedman, Russell L. and Speer, Andreas, 91-116. Leiden: Brill.

    "When one considers the history of metaphysics in the Latin West, there is at least one important forerunner, Boethius, who not only had provided the Latin speaking community up to the middle of the twelfth century with its only Latin translations of Aristotelian writings, namely of the Organon with the exception of the Posterior Analytics. Moreover, in his ‘theological treatises’, especially in the second chapter of his Liber quomodo Trinitas unus Deus ac non tres Dii (or De sancta Trinitate), he displays the division of the three theoretical sciences according to Book E of Aristotle’s Metaphysics. (3) In the twelfth century especially this divisio philosophiae became the point of reference for the epistemological enterprise, notably in the ‘Chartrian’ and ‘Porretanean’ schools, to establish a scientia naturalis based on reason and argument alone, and to establish theology as a deductive science, which proceeds more geometrico in a strong axiomatical order and provides the highest and most common principles (maximae or rationes communes) for the other sciences." (p. 93)


    "According to McInerny, Boethius fits with Thomas’ endeavour to reconcile the thought of Aristotle and Christian faith; in fact, according to McInerny, “Boethius taught what Thomas said he taught.” Therefore, as McInerny concludes, “the Thomistic commentaries on Boethius are without question the best commentaries ever written on the tractates”. (6) This completely a-historical construction, which finds its expression in the dictum “sine Thoma Boethius mutus esset” (coined after Pico’s famous dictum “sine Thoma mutus esset Aristoteles” (7)), not only ignores the important commentary-tradition of the twelfth century but also overlooks the fact that Thomas, who surprisingly enough composed the only thirteenth-century commentaries on two of Boethius’ theological treatises (De hebdomadibus and De Trinitate, unfinished), (8) fundamentally dismissed the underlying idea of Boethius’ metaphysics. Here we come face-to-face with a division of metaphysical discourses. According to one ‘progressive’ narrative of the history of metaphysics, it would appear that at this dividing of the ways Thomas had successfully relegated Boethius’ conception to “the dust-bin of history”, as it were. But the story does not end here and has an unexpected sequel, when at the very beginning of the fourteenth century Meister Eckhart, in explaining his understanding of the first of the Aristotelian theoretical sciences, resumes the Boethian intuition and once more equates metaphysics and theology." (p. 94)

    (3) For the theological Tractates, cf. the new edition of C. Moreschini, in: Boethius, De Consolatione Philosophiae—Opuscula Theologica [henceforth: DCPOT], Leipzig 2000 (Bibliotheca Teubneriana), pp. 163–241 (here esp. pp. 168 sq.), which we cite instead of the former standard edition of H. F. Stewart / E. K. Rand / S. J. Tester, Boethius, new ed., London 1973 (The Loeb Classical Library 74).

    (6) R. McInerny, Boethius and Aquinas, Washington 1990, p. xiv.

    (7) Cf. the title-heading of McInerny’s Epilogue to his book on Boethius and Aquinas (cf. n. 6), p. 249.

    (8) Cf. Thomas Aquinas, Super Boetium de Trinitate and Expositio libri Boetii de ebdomadibus (ed. Leonina), vol. 50.

  54. Stump, Eleonore. 1983. "Hamartia in Christian Belief: Boethius on the Trinity: Essays in honor of John M. Crossett." In Hamartia: The Concept of Error in the Western Tradition, edited by Stump, Donald V., Arieti, James A., Gerson, Lloyd and Stump, Eleonore, 131-148. New York: The Edwin Mellen Press.

  55. Stump, Eleonore, and Kretzmann, Norman. 1981. "Eternity." Journal of Philosophy no. 78:429-458.

  56. Sulowski, Jan. 1961. "The sources of Boethius' De consolatione philosophiae." Sophia no. 29:67-94.

  57. Suto, Taki. 2015. "From Analysis of Words to Metaphysical Appreciation of the World. The Platonism of Boethius " Quaestio. Journal of the History of Metaphysics no. 15:321-331.

    Abstract: "Anicius Manlius Seuerinus Boethius has been regarded one of the major sources of Platonism in the Middle Ages, and the influence of different Platonists on his thought has been widely discussed. In his Aristotelian commentaries, however, Boethius rejects Platonists’ opinions while saying that Aristotle and Plato essentially agree. Boethius may have intended to show the agreement he saw, but did not provide any explanation in his works. In this article, I consider how Boethius could have seen such an agreement. While reexamining past remarks about Platonism in Boethius, I conclude that he adopts Porphyry’s view that Aristotelian logic functions as a step toward the metaphysical appreciation of the universe, which Platonists consider to be the most essential form of philosophy. However, Boethius follows Iamblichus in holding that the highest level of metaphysical appreciation involves mathematization."

  58. Sweeney, Leo. 1989. "Boethius on the "individual": Platonist or Aristotelian." In Daidalikon. Studies in Memory of Raymond V. Schoder, edited by Sutton Jr., Robert F., 361-373. Wauconda (Ill.): Bolchazy-Carducci.

  59. Thorgeirsdottir, Sigridur. 2020. "Methodological Reflections on Women’s Contribution and Influence in the History of Philosophy." In The Torn Robe of Philosophy: Philosophy as a Woman in The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius, edited by Thorgeirsdottir, Sigridur and Hagengruber, Ruth Edith, 83-95. Cham (Switzerland): Springer.

    Abstract: "Symbolic figures like Sophia, Philosophia or Lady Reason represent feminine features in texts of the Western philosophical tradition that are often overlooked in their later interpretations. The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius (480–524), one of the mos twidely read philosophical texts ofmedieval times, includes a dialogue between the imprisoned Boethius who awaits his death sentence and Philosophia, a feminine personification of philosophy. In my interpretation of Philosophia, I analyze how the practice of philosophy she and Boethius stage in this text consists of working with and reflecting on the difficult emotions he struggles with. This argument is based on how ancient meanings of the noun sophia include practical, embodied, and sensual knowledge and not only theoretical knowledge. My interpretation hence involves underscoring feminine elements of philosophical reasoning that includes embodiment and emotions. Philosophia resurfaces in many philosophical texts, such as in Christine de Pizan’s The Book of the City of Ladies (1405), one of the greatest feminist books of the middle ages, where Lady Reason teaches the author to help her trust her feelings and judgements about women."

  60. Torrijos-Castrillejo, David. 2020. "Divine foreknowledge and providence in the commentaries of Boethius and Aquinas on the De interpretatione 9 by Aristotle." Biblica et Patristica Thoruniensia no. 13:151-173.

    Abstract: "Boethius represents one of the most important milestones in Christian reflection about fate and providence, especially considering that he takes into account Proclus’ contributions to these questions. For this reason, The Consolation of philosophy

    is considered a crucial work for the development of this topic. However, Boethius also exposes his ideas in his commentary on the book that constitutes one of the oldest and most relevant texts on the problem of future contingents, namely Aristotle’s De interpretatione.

    Although St. Thomas refers to Boethius many times in his systematic works and even devotes two commentaries to two of his theological opuscules, it is of special interest that both authors composed a commentary on the abovementioned work by Aristotle. The commentary of Saint Thomas does not interpret the whole book, but it does study the pages about future contingents in dialogue with Boethius. We will study such texts in our presentation. They constitute one of the greatest contributions of Aquinas to the problem of necessity and contingency and therefore to the vexata quaestio of divine intervention in the world and particularly in human free will. Not only Augustin but also Aristotle (read by Boethius) and Nemesius of Emesa will be decisive in Aquinas’ perception of this matter."

  61. Troncarelli, Fabio. 2011. "Forbidden Memory: The Death of Boethius and the Conspiracy of Silence." Mediaeval Studies no. 73:183-206.

  62. ———. 2014. "Boethius from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages." In Boethius as a Paradigm of Late Ancient Thought, edited by Kirchner, Andreas, Jürgasch, Thomas and Böhm, Thomas, 213-229. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

    "Boethius, the Roman Boethius, the philosopher Boethius, invented himself as a theologian and invented, as well, Scholastic theology, as St. Thomas recognised in his commentary on the first Boethian theological treatise. Quoting Father Marie-Dominique Chenu, we can say that after Boethius: Theology is a science. The best medicine against Augustine and the poison of his deep pessimism.

    1. Boethius inventing Boethius

    But Boethius invented himself in another way, becoming, for the second time, the best antidote against Augustine, because he invented his death. The execution of an innocent was more than a crime: it was a murder, the murder of the “Civilization”, the murder of the last philosopher of Antiquity as well as the last of the Romans." (p. 218)

  63. ———. 2014. "New Words on Boethius." Carmina Philosophiae no. 23:1-11.

  64. Uhlfelder, Myra L. 2018. The « Consolation of philosophy » as Cosmic Image. Tempe (Arizona): Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

  65. Vogel, Cornelia J. de. 1971. "Boethiana." Vivarium no. 9:49-66.

    ".A highly controversial problem is: whence did Boethius derive his Greek culture, from Athens, from Alexandria, - or have we to imagine that he simply worked in his library in Rome?

    [Follow an examination of the opinions of Courcelle, Minio-Paluello, Shiel and de Rijk: Courcelle thinks that Boethius studied at Athens, the other authors are of the contrary opinion.]" (p. 49)


    Summing up the result of this part of my inquiry I think I can make the following modest statements.

    (1) On the basis of contemporary evidence it must be accepted as certain that Boethius spent his school years in Athens, say from the age of 9 or 10 up to about 17 or 18.

    (2) It is very probable that immediately after that period he was Ammonius' student at Alexandria, from the age of 17 or 18 till about 20.

    (3) Taking into the account that he was extremely precocious it is probable that he returned to Rome as early as the year 500 or a little later. There and about that date he composed the first of his mathematical treatises,the Institutio arithmetica and followed it up by the other three.

    To these three points I add a fourth, concerning the period in which Boethius' other works were written. In the preceding pages I did not discuss the important article of C. H. Coster on The fall of Boethius, (34) which did not touch on my subject. However, the present account of Boethius' younger years which brings us up to the beginning of his own works may be duly concluded by a correction of the traditionally accepted final term of his life and work. I think that Coster's above-cited paper offers the grounds for such a correction. By a careful analysis of the contemporary sources the author comes to the conclusion that the execution of Boethius and Symmachus must have taken place in the summer of 526, shortly before Theodoric's death. If that is correct- and I think Coster's

    arguments are solid -, the framework into which the list of Boethius'works is to be fitted will be enlarged by two years. Since a few years ago Dr. De Rijk drew up such a list in the pages of the present Journal, (35) it may not be out of place to mention the result of Coster's research at the end of this study.

    What I have not done in these pages but wish to do in the next number of this Journal, is to reconsider Boethius' argument in the Consolatio more closely from the point of view of what does and what does not correspond to his own convictions." (pp. 65-66)

    (34) C.H.Coster, The fall of Boethius: His character, in: Annuaire de l'Institut de Philologie et d'Histoire orientales et slaves, XII, (1952), pp. 45-81, (Mélanges H. Grégoire) Bruxelles 1953.

    I dealt with this paper in section II of my contribution to the German work Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt , Band III,prepared atTübingen for1972.

    (35) Vivarium II2,J964,p.i£9ff.

  66. ———. 1972. "Boethiana II." Vivarium no. 10:1-40.

    "So to Boethius, as it had been to St. Augustine, true philosophy and Christian faith tended in the same direction. To Augustine Christian faith had been the fulfilment of that which philosophy had promised.

    He did not identify them. Did Boethius?" (p. 2)


    "In fact, Courcelle thinks that Boethius tried to give a kind of synthesis of the Alexandrian Neoplatonism of Ammonius and Christianity, in the same way as later St. Thomas Aquinas proposed a synthesis of Aristotle's philosophy and Christian theology without mixing up the fields of reason and faith.Thus, we can understand that such an expression as the "prima divinitas", even on the lips of Philosophia, appears a lapsus to Courcelle. On the whole, again, I think his view of Boethius is right: in fact, the "last of Romans", who was a Christian, spent his life in the Neoplatonic philosophy of his age, and he did so rather technically. Even in his theological treatises he tackled the problems as a philosopher, applying the distinctions of Aristotle's logic to the terms used in theology.

    Was it so strange then, that to him, when in prison, philosophy appeared to have a word to speak, a word which must have appealed to him the more since its tendency was in agreement with what he believed as a Christian.

    No doubt this is the main-point. But there are a few unsettled problems. I wish to dispose them under the following three points.

    1. Are there any clearly Christian features in the Consolatio? And if so, where and which are they?

    2. What about the loci sacrae Scripturae, gathered by Fortescue and mentioned as parallels in Bieler' s new edition of the Consolatio? Are all of them either vague parallels or just a matter of coincidence, or will there be found one or two cases in which a very peculiar biblical thought or expression occurs in the Consolatio in precisely the same form? This would be an interesting thing to us. I think it has to be carefully checked.

    3. In which form do the"pagan", non-Christian elements present themselves in the Consolatio? Are they confined to the part in which Philosophia is speaking, or do they sometimes occur in our Christian-philosopher's own part as well? Another question might be raised in this context: is it necessary to believe that Boethius accepted every word spoken by his Mistress without any reservation, or can he be supposed to have had some reservations with regard to certain details of her teaching?" (p. 3)

  67. ———. 1972. "Amor, quo caelum regitur." Vivarium no. 1:2-34.

  68. ———. 1973. "The Problem of Philosophy and Christian Faith in Boethius' Consolatio." In Romanitas et christianitas. Studia Iano Henrico Waszink A.D. VI Kal. Nov. A. MCMLXXIII XIII lustra complenti oblata, edited by den Boer, Willem, 357-370. Amsterdam: North-Holland.

    Reprinted in Manfred Fuhrmann und Joachim Gruber (Hrsg.), Boethius, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1984, pp. 286-301.

    "Boethius, a catholic Christian, fallen in disgrace with the East Gothic king Theodoric, lies there in prison, bereft of all his earthly goods - his family, his friends, his home, his library and whatever comfort a well-to-do and cultivated man may be used to have at his disposal. What is left to a man in such a situation? When he is a deeply believing Christian, there is Christ and God -, nearer to him now by that very state of bereavement in which he finds himself. So the reader who takes up the Consolatio, might expect to find there a man who, outwardly speaking bereft of everything, turns to Christ and in Him feels himself near to God, nearer than ever, and thus at the bottom of his heart more and more quiet and at last, through the Light of the divine Presence, unutterably blessed.

    Nothing of that in Boethius. Nor is there with him that perfect serenity and indifference towards earthly things which we find with Socrates on his last day, in prison and waiting for execution. Boethius is depressed, deeply depressed. At first, he seeks for some relief in the company of the Muses: he tries to give utterance to his grief in poems. But then, the majestic figure of Philosophy appears to him, and it is hers to draw his heart from earthly things - those seeming but no real goods - upward to the one and true Good which is not here but “yonder”.

    So she does, and she does precisely according to the rules laid down for such a case by the philosopher Plotinus in that well-known first treatise of the fifth Ennead which opens with the question: “How does it come about that so many souls have forgotten God, their Father, and do not know any more whence they are?” Plotinus replied: these souls have turned to perishable things and attached a real value to them, thus, [358] in fact turning away from the true value. To the question of how to cure a man who is in this state of mind Plotinus replied: “That must be done by two kinds of λόγοι, one of which has to explain the non-value of those things in which that man has now put his trust, while the other must bring home to him what real value is and whence the soul takes its origin.” I noted elsewhere (1) that this is precisely the diagnosis and the therapy which Philosophia applied to Boethius in Cons. 1, pr. 6, 28-40 Bieler (the diagnosis) and the books II and III (the therapy).

    Philosophia offers her consolation in the language suiting her person. Hence, we shall not wonder so much at finding in her lessons certain elements which have undoubtedly more to do with Plato or with Proclus than with Christ. (2) The presence of such elements in the Consolatio is, so to speak, known to everyone. What is perhaps less known is: that in these same lessons there are certain elements of syncretism, for instance, in that same Neoplatonic hymn O qui perpetua, where the summum bonum of philosophy is identified with the Creator of the world, - an identification which is neither found in Plato nor in Proclus or any other Neoplatonist. For the rest, the very formula terrarum caelique sator stems from Roman poets, not from Genesis." (pp. 357-358)

    (1) In 'Boethiana I', Vivarium 9, 1971, 55.

    (2) Such elements can be found, e.g. in the famous Neoplatonic hymn to the Good, O qui perpetua (Cons. 3, m. 9), which was again and again commented on in the Middle Ages, and was excellently treated by Fr. Klingner, De Boethii Consolatione Philosophiae, Berlin 1921; repr. 1966.

  69. ———. 1980. "The Well-Rounded Sphere: The Metaphysical Structure of The Consolation of Philosophy." In Essays in the Numerical Criticism of Medieval Literature, edited by Eckhardt, Caroline D., 91-140. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press.

  70. Walz, Matthew D. 2011. "Stoicism as Anesthesia: Philosophy's "Gentler Remedies" in Boethius's Consolation." International Philosophical Quarterly no. 51:501-520.

    Abstract: "Boethius first identifies Philosophy in the Consolation as his medica, his "healer" or "physician." Over the course of the dialogue Philosophy exercises her medical art systematically. In the second book Philosophy first gives Boethius "gentler remedies" that are preparatory for the "sharper medicines" that she administers later. This article shows that, philosophically speaking, Philosophy's "gentler remedies" amount to persuading Boethius toward Stoicism, which functions as an anesthetic for the more invasive philosophical surgery that she performs afterwards. Seeing this, however, requires understanding how Philosophy draws out Boethius's spiritedness in the first book and how in the second book she sublimates it into an intellectual and volitional apathy toward the things of fortune, i.e., into a Stoic attitude toward that which is other. Significantly, though, the Stoicism to which Philosophy leads Boethius is of a mitigated sort, inasmuch as friendship is not included among the things of fortune to which Boethius is anesthesized, an exception that opens up Boethius to genuinewonder and, consequently, to genuine philosophizing."

  71. ———. 2016. "Boethius and Stoicism." In The Routledge Handbook of the Stoic Tradition, edited by Sellars, John, 70-84. New York: Routledge.

    "The Stoics mistake a small part of Philosophy’s garment for the whole of her. Instead of possessing the fullness of philosophy, as did Plato and Aristode, the Stoics possess only a portion of its appearance.

    Stoicism is philosophically superficial and incomplete. (2)

    This severe take on Stoicism must be qualified, however, in light of a subsequent passage in Book 1, [of Consolation of Philosophy] in which Philosophy relates how not only Greek philosophers suffered for her sake, but Roman ones as well. The three Romans she names - Canius, Seneca, and Soranus - were all Stoics (Cons. 1.3, 31-7). The pieces of her garment that they snatched sufficed for facing adversity under tyranny in an exemplary fashion. (3) Something about Stoicism, then, is able to fortify human beings in times of distress.

    This mixed review makes sense in the Consolation; for there Stoicism is presented as a necessary stage within the Prisoner’s philosophical development. Though it be superficial and incomplete, it is also indispensable. This dual characterization, moreover, illuminates

    Boethius’s criticism of Stoicism in earlier works; (4) for it helps us see what those critiques are ultimately driving at, namely, the philosophical superficiality and incompleteness of Stoicism, which compares poorly with the multidimensional, expansive thinking Boethius finds in Plato and Aristotle.

    In what follows we explore Boethius’s works chronologically in order to elucidate his twofold judgment of Stoicism. Beginning with references to the Stoics in his logical works (5) and then turning to the Consolation, we delineate the intelligible contours of Stoicism as

    Boethius sees it, including the positive impetus Stoicism provides toward a philosophical apprehension of reality as well as its innate inadequacy for attaining the full measure of wisdom available to us through philosophical inquiry." (pp. 71-72, note 4 and 5 omitted)

    (2) Indeed, in light of these passages, we can see why one might arrive at the judgment that in Boethius’s eyes “ the Stoics . . . in general are considered to be pseudo-philosophers” (Marenbon [Boethius] 2003: 154).

    (3) Each of these Romans, like Boethius, suffered under the reigning authority: Canius was executed by Caligula; Seneca was forced to commit suicide by Nero; and Soranus was condemned to death by Nero and committed suicide. Canius is mentioned again at 1.4, 9; Seneca, at 3.5, 28-36. Soranus is not mentioned again.

  72. Watson, Cristalle. 2020. "Timaean double-circle spiral structure in the « Consolatio Philosophiae »." Dionysus no. 38:36-70.

    Abstract: "The poetry of Boethius's « Consolatio » has largely been neglected. Where they are treated, the poems are mined for textual and philosophical content, although poetry is a necessary element of the prisoner's cure. The rhythmic pattern of Cons. 3 carm. 9 reveals not a simple circle, but rather a double-circle spiral, a microcosmos reflecting its Timaean content and incorporating rectilinear and helical as well as circular motion. The prisoner's narrative motion similarly traces a double-circle spiral path, which – unlike the simple circle – returns upon itself while simultaneously preserving, rather than annihilating, the distance traveled. This blended mode of return to God perfects the individual identities of created beings while granting them participation in the circular motion characteristic of divine activity."

  73. Wiitala, Michael. "Every Happy Man Is a God: Deification in Boethius." In Deification in he Latin Patristic Tradition, edited by Ortiz, Jared, 231-252. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press.

  74. ———. 2010. "It Depends on What One Means by “Eternal”. Why Boethius is not an Eternalist." Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association no. 84:253-261.

    Abstract: "Objections to the traditional view that God knows all of time eternally stand or fall on what one means by “eternally.” The widely held supposition, shared by both eternalists and those who oppose them, such as Open Theists, is that to say God knows all of time eternally entails that he cannot know all of time from a temporal perspective. In this paper I show that Boethius’s characterization of God’s eternal knowledge employs a different meaning of “eternal,” which is incompatible with this supposition. I argue that Boethius’s claim that “the most excellent knowledge is that which by its own nature knows not only its own proper object but also the objects of all lower kinds of knowledge” entails that God is not limited by perspective and so eternally and simultaneously knows every temporal event from a temporal as well as a timeless perspective."

  75. Wiltshire, Susan Ford. 1972. "Boethius and the Summum Bonum." The Classical Journal no. 67:216-220.

    "The definition of the summum bonum itself comes in the tenth prose section of book 3 [of The Consolation of Philosophy]. The main steps of Boethius’ argument are as follows:

    1. Human beings agree that God, the ruler of all things, is good-and further, that he is perfectly good (

    2. But the perfect good is true happiness (sed perfectum bonum veram esse beatitudine» (3) constituimus (

    3. There cannot be two perfect, highest goods, because if one lacked anything of the other, it would not be perfect (

    4. Therefore true happiness and God, being both the same thing, arc both the summum bonum, and the supreme good is identical with supreme divinity (Atqui el beatitudinem et deum summum bonum esse collegimus; quare ipsam necesse est summam esse beatitudinem quae sit summa divinitas: 3pr.10.20). Later Boethius adds that a person becomes beatus by attaining divinity and that, while by nature there is only one God, there can be many by participation. (4)

    Boethius’ identification here of the summum bonum with God is explicit." (p. 217)


    "Boethius offers just such a preethical vision, a concept of the ideal good. True, it is one that leaves the hard questions of justice, morality, and mercy unsolved; but it does demand an ultimate framework within which the answers to penultimate questions are sought. His creation of this concept of the summum bonum, argued through dialogue, illustrated and enlarged through poetry, and presented with the powerful effect of drama throughout, suggests to us that in bis own life Boethius did achieve in the end some sense of the unity and goodness he sought." (p. 220)

    (3) Boethius uses the terms beatitudo, felicitas, verum or perfectum bonum, and on one occasion ( 10.38) even bonitas all interchangeably with summum bonum.

    (4) Cf. John 10:34: also 2 Peter 1:4.

  76. Wippel, John F. 1973. "Commentary on Boethius’s De Trinitate." The Thomist no. 37:133-154.

  77. Wittala, Michael. 2019. "Every Happy Man Is a God: Deification in Boethius." In Deification in the Latin Patristic Tradition, edited by Ortiz, Jared, 231-252. Washington, D. C.: The Catholic University of America Press.

  78. Wood, Laurence. 2010. "Divine omniscience: Boethius or open theism?" Wesleyan Theological Journal no. 45:41-66.

  79. Zamora Calvo, José Maria. 2017. "Truth and modes of cognition in Boethius: a Neoplatonic approach." Schole no. 11:354-371.

    Abstract: "Boethius does not accept the principle of realism that considers truth as the adaptation - or adequation - of the subject to the knowable object, and instead defends that knowledge should be studied by relating it to the capacity of the cognoscente subject. Thus, truth is relative to the faculty or level of knowledge in which we stand, since each faculty - each level of knowledge - has its own object: the material figure for the senses, the figure without matter for the imagination, the universal for reason and the simple form for intelli- gence. But this epistemological relativism is moderate, precisely because of its hierarchical character. Therefore, although in a sense truth is manifold, the perfect truth, proper to divine knowledge, includes and surpasses all others. In order to cement the architecture of this system of relativisation of knowledge, Boethius starts from a Neoplatonic interpretation of the simile of the line of the Republic (VI.510a-b) and Plato's Timaeus, but not completely tied to it. The beings endowed with

    knowledge are ordered according to the Neoplatonic hierarchy of cosmic realities."