Setting aside strong emotions of all sorts is, Philosophy suggests, a prerequisite for achieving true happiness. (The now that passes produces time, the now that remains produces eternity.)' But what of divine revelation, Christ, the Church, the sacraments? (Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages, 106). In fact, the book is a dialogue with the Lady Philosophy. What Boethius seems to be saying is that even once those who have sought divinity become divinized, they are god-like without being God, thus they can never obtain true happiness, only participate in that which is possessed by God. Lewis believed that although Boethius wrote under arrest and in disgrace, he likely wasn’t in a dungeon or living “in the daily expectation of the executioner” (77). This they work at by toiling over a whole range of pursuits, advancing on different paths, but striving to attain the one goal of happiness. Now we have established that the perfect good is true happiness, so true happiness must reside in the highest God.” (3:10:7-10). Boethius, David R Slavitt (2008). The relationship between the two philosophers extends well beyond their resting places, of course, evidenced by the tremendous influence they both had on medieval thought. There he outlined three hypotheses about the relationship between Boethius and the Christian faith that he found unsatisfactory: Lewis stated that “[n]one of these theories seems to me necessary” (The Discarded Image, 76). God as the attainment of perfect happiness. Happiness, according to The Consolation of Philosophy, is acquired by attaining the perfect good. Thus, all goods are contained within the perfect good and man has a deeply innate longing for this “true good,” even if he finds ways to avoid it or invest it in lesser goods. He studied Greco-Roman culture and philosophy with great diligence and admirable ambition. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, for example, quotes from all three in stating: The Word became flesh to make us partakers of the divine nature: For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God. Here, in the very middle of the book, we learn that God is equivalent to happiness. This approach, along with the tragic background of the book, places in bold relief the poignant and profound nature of Boethius’ dialogue with the lady, Philosophy. Instead of seeking true happiness falsely through materialistic means, Boethius asserts that we must only pursue God. Yet why, in the face of death, did Boethius seek consolation from philosophy—the study of wisdom—and not theology—the study of God? We, in understanding this concept, are far more likely to turn to God, as we know that through Him we will find happiness. To do so he worked as a philosopher, not a theologian; therefore, he could only go as far as philosophy allows. God as presented in the Old Testament is reminiscent of a disciplinarian, the being who punishes man for his sins, whereas believing in God in a more philosophical fashion makes the practice of religion appear far less daunting, not only in the practice itself but also in the more benevolent concept that God can be utilized to achieve the ideal end of happiness. (3:2:2-4. (3:2:19-20). Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. . While God is recognized as good in both philosophy and Christianity, the general perception of God from a more naïve Christian standpoint is that he is more authoritative and omnipotent as opposed to the being through which one seeks happiness. Hence every happy person is God: God is by nature one only, but nothing prevents the greatest possible number from sharing in that divinity. Next, he argues that perfect happiness can be found only in God. But his most famous and enduring work is De Consolatione Philosophiae (The Consolation of Philosophy), written while under house arrest. Boethius was a Christian to the end and the. Lewis, who had a deep affection for The Consolation, addressed this question in The Discarded Image, his study of medieval thought. The central question upon which Boethius focuses is that of obtaining happiness and by what means we can do so, and in this chapter, the question is answered. And yet, whatever mistakes and poor decisions man makes, he is still striving, however poorly, to attain happiness: Mortal creatures have one overall concern. Knowles remarks: The explanation may well lie in the changed attitude towards philosophy since the later middle ages. Having initially earned the favor of Theoderic, king of Ravenna and regent of the Visigoths, Boethius found himself accused by the king—an Arian—of treason. Five diversions from the perfect good are addressed: riches, position, kingships, fame, and pleasures (3:2:5-17). “The Consolation of Philosophy”, p.58, Harvard University Press For the Son of God became man so that we might become God. — Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy (3:12). In response Boethius acknowledges the need to “invoke the Father of all things” and ends the chapter with a poetic outpouring of praise for the “Father of earth and sky,” concluding with a nearly ecstatic accounting of God’s attributes: “For in the eyes of all devoted men, You are calm brightness and the rest of peace. In a remarkable passage, Boethius explains the concept that is central to the entirety of the book and acts as the interpretive key to all chapters before and after.
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