One of the most influential texts to come out of the late Middle Ages.The Consolation of Philosophy
occupies a central place in the history of Western thought. Its author, Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (ca. 476526 c.e.), was a Roman philosopher, scholar, and statesman who wrote The Consolation of Philosophy
while in a remote prison awaiting his execution on dubious political charges. The text of this Norton Critical Edition is based on the translation by Richard H. Green. It is accompanied by the editor’s preface and full-scale introduction to the work, the translator’s preface, and explanatory annotations.
“Contexts” reprints selections from the texts that Boethius drew upon for his own work. These include excerpts from two of Plato’s Dialogues
(Gorgias and Timaeus), from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics
, and from Augustine’s On Free Choice of the Will
“Criticism” collects five wide-ranging essays by major scholars of Boethius. Henry Chadwick presents a general introduction to Boethius’s life and works. Nelson Pike presents a clear and insightful interpretation of what Boethius means by writing that God is eternal (timeless). The final three essays—by William Bark, Edmund Reiss, and John Marenbon—all depart from traditional readings of The Consolation of Philosophy
in significant ways and are sure to stimulate classroom discussion.
A Chronology of Boethius’s life and work and a Selected Bibliography are also included.