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Techniques for Preserving a Tradition: Incorporating Fortune and Faith in the Consolatio Philosophiae

Techniques for Preserving a Tradition: Incorporating Fortune and Faith in the Consolatio Philosophiae

By Alexandra Cook

Hortulus: The Online Community for Graduate Students in Medieval Studies, Vol. 2 (2006)

Abstract: Elements of pagan theism and Christian theology appear in this salvific treatise, but most Boethian scholars dismiss them as instances of unconscious syncretism. Yet Boethius deliberately effects an ideological synthesis by internalizing and christianizing the Platonic dialogue. Boethius’s emphasis on the importance of the role of chance, as expressed through both Lady Philosophy and Lady Fortune, reminds us that uncertainty is the necessary foundation upon which faith is built. Faith itself permits what Derrida calls “a venture into absolute risk,” in which ultimate consolation can perhaps be found.

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