In the last fifty years the field of Late Antiquity has advanced significantly. Today we have a picture of this period that is more precise and accurate than before. However, the study of one of the most significant texts of this age, Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, has not benefited enough from these advances in scholarship. Antonio Donato aims to fill this gap by investigating how the study of the Consolation can profit from the knowledge of Boethius' cultural, political and social background that is available today.
The book focuses on three topics: Boethius' social/political background, his notion of philosophy and its sources, and his understanding of the relation between Christianity and classical culture. These topics deal with issues that are of crucial importance for the exegesis of the Consolation. The study of Boethius' social/political background allows us to gain a better understanding of the identity of the character Boethius and to recognize his role in the Consolation. Examination of the possible sources of Boethius' notion of philosophy and of their influence on the Consolation offers valuable instruments to evaluate the role of the text's philosophical discussions and their relation to its literary features. Finally, the long-standing problem of the lack of overt Christian elements in the Consolation can be enlightened by considering how Boethius relies on a peculiar understanding of philosophy's goal and its relation to Christianity that was common among some of his predecessors and contemporaries.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 232
Weight: 331 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 12 mm
Donato presents Boethius's well-known Consolation of Philosophy in a strikingly new way, by stressing its author's consciousness of himself as a Roman aristocrat, with very specific values and obligations. This thesis is developed into a reinterpretation of how Philosophy consoles, and how Boethius conveys his message through poetry and images as well as argument.
Antonio Donato's trenchant analysis of Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy as a "product" of Late Antiquity includes fresh and important insights which aid in resolving many of the traditional exegetical difficulties readers have had with this text. Historians, philosophers, and theologians will surely profit from this new reading of Boethius
This is an important book. With it-and in the company of his three substantial and near-contemporary articles on Consolation, modestly unrecorded in his bibliography-Donato emerges as a new and powerful voice in Boethian studies. * Bryn Mawr Classical Review *