The Theological Tractates

The Theological Tractates : And the Consolation of Philosophy

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The Theological Tractates and The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius With an English translation by H.F. Stewart Anicius Manlius Severinus BoEthius, commonly called Boethius; c 480-524 AD), was a philosopher of the early 6th century. He was born in Rome to the ancient and prominent Anicia family, which included emperors Petronius Maximus and Olybrius and many consuls. His father, Flavius Manlius Boethius, was consul in 487 after Odoacer deposed the last Roman Emperor. Boethius himself entered public life at a young age and was already a senator by the age of 25. He was consul in 510 in the kingdom of the Ostrogoths. In 522 he saw his two sons become consuls. Boethius was imprisoned and eventually executed by King Theodoric the Great, who suspected him of conspiring with the Byzantine Empire. While jailed, Boethius composed his Consolation of Philosophy, a philosophical treatise on fortune, death, and other issues. The Consolation became one of the most popular and influential works of the Middle Ages. The Consolation of Philosophy was written during a one-year imprisonment Boethius served while awaiting trial - and eventual horrific execution - for the crime of treason under the Ostrogothic King Theodoric the Great. Boethius was at the very heights of power in Rome and was brought down by treachery. This experience inspired the text, which reflects on how evil can exist in a world governed by God (the problem of theodicy), and how happiness can be attainable amidst fickle fortune, while also considering the nature of happiness and God. It has been described as "by far the most interesting example of prison literature the world has ever seen." Even though reference is often made to God, the book is not strictly religious. A link is often assumed, yet there is no reference made to Jesus Christ or Christianity or any other specific religion other than a few oblique references to Pauline scripture, such as the symmetry between the opening lines of Book 4 Chapter 3 and 1 Corinthians 9:24. God is however represented not only as an eternal and all-knowing being, but as the source of all Good. Boethius writes the book as a conversation between himself and Lady Philosophy. She consoles Boethius by discussing the transitory nature of fame and wealth ("no man can ever truly be secure until he has been forsaken by Fortune"), and the ultimate superiority of things of the mind, which she calls the "one true good." She contends that happiness comes from within, and that one's virtue is all that one truly has, because it is not imperilled by the vicissitudes of fortune.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 274 pages
  • 203.2 x 254 x 15.75mm | 684.92g
  • Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1507663919
  • 9781507663912

About Boethius

The Theological Tractates and The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius With an English translation by H.F. Stewart Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, of the famous Praenestine family of the Anicii, was born about 480 A.D. in Rome. His father was an ex-consul; he himself was consul under Theodoric the Ostrogoth in 510, and his two sons, children of a great grand-daughter of the renowned Q. Aurelius Symmachus, were joint consuls in 522. His public career was splendid and honourable, as befitted a man of his race, attainments, and character. But he fell under the displeasure of Theodoric, and was charged with conspiring to deliver Rome from his rule, and with corresponding treasonably to this end with Justin, Emperor of the East. He was thrown into prison at Pavia, where he wrote the Consolation of Philosophy, and he was brutally put to death in 524. His brief and busy life was marked by great literary achievement. His learning was vast, his industry untiring, his object unattainable-- nothing less than the transmission to his countrymen of all the works of Plato and Aristotle, and the reconciliation of their apparently divergent views. To form the idea was a silent judgment on the learning of his day; to realize it was more than one man could accomplish; but Boethius accomplished much. He translated the [Greek: Eisagogae] of Porphyry, and the whole of Aristotle's Organon. He wrote a double commentary on the [Greek: Eisagogae] and commentaries on the Categories and the De Interpretatione of Aristotle, and on the Topica of Cicero. He also composed original treatises on the categorical and hypothetical syllogism, on Division and on Topical Differences. He adapted the arithmetic of Nicomachus, and his textbook on music, founded on various Greek authorities, was in use at Oxford and Cambridge until modern times. His five theological Tractates are here, together with the Consolation of Philosophy, to speak for themselves.show more

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196 ratings
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