Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Superata Tellus Siderum Donat

I went to my mailbox today and found there the Spring 2004 issue of the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly which, to my delight, is on Boethius. It will be great reading, I'm sure.

One thing that surprised me (that always surprises me about discussions of Boethius) is the failure to point out what 'the consolation of Philosophy' in his little work The Consolation of Philosophy really is. Or, rather, I should say, what it primarily is, since, as Fortin's article in this issue rightly notes, there are several different senses of 'consolation' at play in the work. Fortin does not really note the real thrust of the reasoning of the work, though. What is the consolation of Philosophy, the real consolation? That there is a providential God able to answer prayer, so prayer is worthwhile. How this meshes with the various ironies about consolation Fortin notes is a complicated issue, but the thrust of the work, and the reason it was so loved by so many is precisely that it argues that the consolation of philosophy is showing the possibility of the consolation of prayer. Such is my thought, anyway.

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