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Pagans and PhilosophersThe Problem of Paganism from Augustine to Leibniz$
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John Marenbon

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691142555

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691142555.001.0001

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(p.42) Chapter 3 Boethius
Pagans and Philosophers

John Marenbon

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy, which was written around 524 CE. A striking contrast to Augustine's answer to the Problem of Paganism, the Consolation of Philosophy was translated into the gamut of medieval vernaculars, from Old High German to Hebrew. The Consolation does not obviously put forward an answer, or even state the Problem of Paganism, and on the reading followed by many specialists, Boethius was not concerned with it at all. This chapter argues that their judgement is wrong, and emphasises that the Consolation needs to be considered as a complex literary work that can be properly understood only when placed in its author's unusual cultural context.

Keywords:   Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy

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