Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius
(ca 480 - 524/6)


BOËTHIUS, Anicius Manlius Severinus, b. in Rome, 480; beheaded at Pavia, 525; descended from a wealthy and influential Roman family; studied in Athens, and occupied for several years a very prominent position in the Roman world, equally revered by the people, and esteemed by the Ostrogothic king, Theodoric, the ruler of Italy. The decree of the Emperor Justin against the Arians was the first event which made Boëthius suspected; but Theodoric now banished him to Pavia, where he afterwards had him confined in a dungeon, and finally beheaded. By his translations of Aristotle’s Analytica, Topica, Soph. Elench., and of the Isagoge of Porphyry, by his elaborate commentaries on these works, and by his own independent writings, Introductio ad Categoricas Syllogismos, De Syllogismo Categorico, De Syllogismo Hypothetico, De Divisione, De Definitione, etc., Boëthius became the connecting link between the logical and metaphysical science of antiquity and the scientific attempts of the middle ages; and a still greater influence he came to exercise on medieval thought by his De Consolatione Philosophæ and the various theological writings which were ascribed to him. The Consolatio Philosophicæ was written during the imprisonment of the author at Pavia; but though it is certain that Boëthius was a Christian, at least nominally, it never touches Christian ground: all the comfort it contains it owes to the optimism of the neo-platonic school and to the stoicism of Seneca. Nevertheless, during the middle ages this book was read with the greatest reverence by all Christendom. King Alfred translated it into Anglo-Saxon, which translation was edited by Rawlinson, Oxford, 1698; and Thomas Aquinas wrote a commentary on it. Having thus advanced from the position of a mere logician to that of a moralist, he finally reached that of a theologian. It is not probable that he has written any of the theological works ascribed to him; but the tradition is very old. He is mentioned by Alcuin as author of De Sancta Trinitate; by Hinemar of Rheims, as author of Utrum Pater et Filius et Spinitus Sanctum de Divinitate instantialiter praedicentur, etc. Collected editions of the works of Boëthius appeared at Venice, 1492; Basle, 1546 and 1570; and in MIGNE: Patrol., tom. 68 and 64. The theological works were published at Louvain, [306] 1633. The Consolatio Philosophæ was translated into English by Preston, 1695.

F. Nitzsch,"Boethius," Philip Schaff, ed., A Religious Encyclopaedia or Dictionary of Biblical, Historical, Doctrinal, and Practical Theology, 3rd edn., Vol. 1. Toronto, New York & London: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1894. pp.305-306.

Primary Sources

Book or monograph Boethius: The Consolation of PhilosophyBoethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, Victor E. Watts, translator. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1999. Pbk. ISBN: 0140447806. pp.192. {CBD} {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Boethius, The Theological Tractates, 2nd edn. E.K. Rand, ed. H.F. Stewart & E.K. Rand, translators. Loeb Classical Libary. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1973. Hbk. ISBN: 0674990838. pp.458. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Paul Vincent Spade, Five Texts on the Mediaeval Problem of Universals: Porphyry, Boethius, Abelard, Duns Scotus, Ockham. Hackett Publishing Co., Inc., 1994. Hbk. ISBN: 087220250X. pp.238. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Boethius of Dacia, On the Supreme Good, on the Eternity of the World, on Dreams: On the Supreme Good, on the Eternity of the World, on Dreams. Mediaeval Sources in Translation, 30. John F. Wippel, translator. Pontifical Institute of Medieval, 1987. Pbk. ISBN: 0888442807. {Amazon.com}

Secondary Sources

Article W. Bark, "Boethius's Fourth Tractate, the So-Called De Fide Catholica," Harvard Theological Review 39 (1946): 55-69.
Article Henry Chadwick, "The Authenticity of Boethius's Fourth Tractate De Fide Catholic," Journal of Theological Studies n.s. 31 (1980): 551-56.
Book or monograph Henry Chadwick, Boethius: The Consolations of Music, Logic, Theology, and Philosophy. Oxford: Clarendon, 1981. Reprinted: Oxford University Press Reprints distributed by Sandpiper Books, 1981. Hbk. ISBN: 019826447X. pp.330. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph L. Cooper, A Concordance of Boethius: The Five Theological Tractates and the Consolation of Philosophy. Medieval Academy of America, Publication 1. Cambridge, 1928.
Article William Lane Craig, "Boethius on Theological Fatalism," Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses 64.4 (1990): 324-347.
Book or monograph Margaret Gibson, ed., Boethius: His Life, Thought and Influence. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1981. Hbk. ISBN: 0631111417. pp.480. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Nikolaus M. Häring, ed., The Commentaries on Boethius by Gilbert of Poitiers, Studies and Texts 13. Toronto, 1966.
Book or monograph Boethius in the Middle AgesMaarten J.F.M. Hoenen & Lodi W. Nauta, Boethius in the Middle Ages: Latin and Vernacular Traditions in the Consolatio Philosophiae. Studien & Texte Zur Geistesgeschichte Des Mittelalters. Leiden: Brill, 1997. Hbk. ISBN: 9004108319. pp.336. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Henrik Lagerlund, Emotions and Choice from Boethius to Descartes. Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2002. Pbk. ISBN: 1402010273. pp.356. {Amazon.com}
Article J. Magee, "Note on Boethius, Consalatio 1, 1, 5; 3, 7; A New Biblical Parallel," Verbum Caro 42 (1988): 79-82.
Book or monograph John Marenbon, Boethius. Great Medieval Thinkers. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Hbk. ISBN: 0195134060. pp.304. {Amazon.com}
On-line Resource Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (J J O'Connor and E F Robertson)
Book or monograph Gerald J.P. O'Daly, The Poetry of Boethius. London: Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd., 1991. Hbk. ISBN: 0715623664. pp.264.
Book or monograph E.K. Rand, The Founders of the Middle Ages. Cambridge: MA: Dover Publications, 1928. Pbk. ISBN: 0486203697. pp.135-80. {Amazon.com}
Article John P. Rosheger, "Boethius and the Paradoxical Mode of Theological Discourse," American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 75.3 (2001): 323-343.
Article H. Martin Rumscheidt, "Voices From Prison: Beothius and Bonhoeffer," Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 10.4 (1981): 463-471.
Article J. Shiel, "Boethius' Commentary on Aristotle," Medieval and Renaissance Studies 4 (1958): 217-44.
On-line Resource Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (William Turner)


Book or monograph Margaret Gibson, ed., Boethius: His Life, Thought and Influence. Blackwell Publishers, 1981. Hbk. ISBN: 0631111417. pp.480. {Amazon.com}

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