The Consolation of Philosophy

There is little mention of Christianity in The Consolation of Philosophy, but it could be argued that Boethius’ ideas are at least couched in Christian ethics. How so?

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This is a thematic question. Gradesaver's theme page contains the following information:

God as the attainment of perfect happiness

Book III is taken up with the proof of God's existence based on the inadequacy of human desires to produce true happiness. The standard by which all humanity judges perfect happiness is innate, and no human beings attain it through earthly goods. Therefore a being capable of perfect happiness - in fact the source of that perfect happiness - must exist outside of the earthly realm. This is the overarching theme of the entire book, but the proof of God is not the focus. The emphasis is on the futility of seeking happiness through earthly desires.

Providence and Happiness (Felicity)

Providence, a difficult concept to understand, is explained roughly as the reason of God ordering the universe. It is the overall plan that God has for the world, even when Fate (the ordering of events on earth) seems to be disordered. Lady Philosophy concedes that this is indeed a mystery, for everything takes place simultaneously for God, and we in our temporal world cannot understand this.

True happiness (in some translations Felicity) is the pursuit of God through intellectual and spiritual means. It is considered the supreme good by Boethius, and the only good worth pursuing. All earthly goods are false goods, and only our spirit and intellect can lead us to the true good of the soul: God.


This work has been translated by many scholars throughout history. It had particular influence on the Middle Ages, and was considered necessary reading for all educated people. The philosophy is wholly orthodox with Boethius's Christianity, but the proofs within it are mostly logical. Certain arguments, such as free will and Providence, are very famous and are referred to by other authors, especially Christian writers of the medieval Europe.