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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $14.00
  • September 2009
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-93071-9
  • 224 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

The Consolation of Philosophy

Norton Critical Editions


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Boethius (Author), Douglas C. Langston (Editor, New College of Florida)


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. 476–526 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.




    Translator's Preface

    The Text of The Consolation of Philosophy


    1. Plato • From The Gorgias
    2. Plato • From The Timaeus
    3. Aristotle • From The Nicomachean Ethics
    4. Augustine • From On Free Choice of the Will


    1. Henry Chadwick • Introduction to Boethius: His Life, Thought, and Influence
    2. Nelson Pike • The Predicate "Timeless"
    3. William Bark • Theodoric vs. Boethius: Vindication and Apology
    4. Edmund Reiss • The Fall of Boethius and the Fiction of the Consolatio Philosophiae
    5. John Marenbon • Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius

    Boethius: A Chronology

    Selected Bibliography