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Boethius: Theological Tractates. Loeb 74, Consolation of Philosophy

by Boethius, S. J. Tester, H. F. Stewart

Buy the book: Boethius. Boethius: Theological Tractates. Loeb 74, Consolation of Philosophy

Release Date: June, 1973

Edition: Hardcover

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Buy the book: Boethius. Boethius: Theological Tractates. Loeb 74, Consolation of Philosophy


"A Collection of Masterworks"

Boethius was certainly a bright spot in the midst of a darkening world flooded by barbarians and intellectually on the decline. Boethius was among the few commentators and compilers of his age who endeavored to preserve the tenets of Greek Philosophy. His commentaries and translations of the original Greek texts of Aristotle were the only Latin translations known to the Western world until the renaissance and ultimately paved the way for Aquinas' "Summa Theologia." So, with this in mind, Boethius' works made a very significant impact upon the later scholastic philosophers, and to the whole of Catholic tradition as well. Italy, during Boethius' time, was under the rule of Theoderic the Ostrogoth, who unjustly imprisoned the statesman/philosopher, falsely accusing him of treason. While waiting for his execution, Boethius wrote his "Consolation of Philosophy." The book itself is among the masterpieces of all time, and the only thing as tragic as Boethius' untimely death is the fact that we were not able to obtain anymore works from this genius with the golden pen. Had he remained alive, it is very likely that we would have seen a sublime synthesis, in Latin, of Plato and Aristotle, not contradicting each other but complimenting one another. However, in short, this book is a small manifestation of what may have happened if he lived longer. What is interesting about this book is that it handles several different perspectives, namely that of the sorrowful Boethius and the consoling wisdom of Lady Philosophy, written both in eloquent prose and dazzling verse, which together ultimately culminates into a one of the most moving, inspiring, and thought provoking philosophical works of all time. The book is indefatigable, in that it never seems to quit opening new corridors of thought; and it is essential, because it is the philosopher's ideal breviary. It is interesting to note - and this is certainly not a negation to his Christian convictions - that while this Saint was awaiting his execution he remembered Athens, not Calvary. The other works contained in the volume are some minor Theological tractates: namely, "De Trinitate," "Utrem Pater Et Filius," "De Fide Catholica," "Quomodo Substanitiae," and "Contra Eutychen." While many individuals attempt to downplay Boethius' Christianity since "The Consolation" makes no direct mention of Christ, it nevertheless cannot be denied that many Christian elements underlay the theme of the work; and also it must be noted that when Boethius writes philosophy he is strictly writing philosophy and he writes theology he is strictly writing theology. Boethius is without a doubt the Christian Socrates.

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Precursor of Medieval Scholasticism

This volume contains the five little Tractates (De Trinitate, Utrum Pater et Filius, Quomodo Substantiae, De Fide Catholica, and Contra Eutychen), plus the monumental "Consolation of Philosophy" written by Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (A.D. 480-524) as he awaited his brutal execution. Most of the translation is the work of S.J. Tester, whose aim was "to produce throughout the volume a homogeneous rendering, reasonably literal, which would make philosophical sense." De Trinitate is a purely philosophical defense of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. The "Consolation" is considered the last example of purely literary Latin of ancient times; a mingling of alternate dialogue and poems.

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