Teaching Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy

with Josh Gibbs

In this concise course, Josh Gibbs (humanities educator at the Veritas School in Richmond) introduces us to an important great book in the classical tradition: The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius. A contemporary of St. Benedict, Boethius was born in 480 AD and served as a Roman senator and then as consul under the barbarian king Theodoric the Great. Boethius was also a philosopher and author and wrote The Consolation of Philosophy while in prison awaiting his execution after he had fallen out of favor with Theodoric. In the book, philosophy personalized as Lady Philosophy comes to Boethius and offers counsel, exhortation, and consolation as Boethius reflects on the fortunes and misfortunes of his own life and work.

Richard Morris writes that “No philosopher was so bone of the bone and flesh of the flesh of Middle-Age writers as Boethius. Take up what writer you will, and you will find not only the sentiments, but the very words of the distinguished old Roman.” This very influential book is essential reading for comprehending early medieval thought, but also an engaging, accessible book that upper school students will enjoy and from which they will profit greatly.

This is a fitting course for educators who wish to read and enjoy Boethius for their own edification, but also a great way to prepare to teach this book to upper school students.

Instructional Hours: 2.17, CEU Credits: .33

This course introduces Boethius and then is organized by the five books (or chapters) that make up The Consolation of Philosophy.

  • Introduction
  • Book I
  • Book II
  • Book III
  • Book IV
  • Book V
  • Conclusion
Joshua Gibbs is a humanities and literature teacher at the Veritas School in Richmond, VA. Josh has been teaching great books for some 10 years, and is an associate fellow with the Alcuin Fellowship. He is also a frequent speaker at classical school conferences. He lives in Richmond, VA, with his wife and two daughters, both of whom have seven names.

To obtain a certification credit for this course, simply complete each presentation lesson or discussion in the course (by marking it complete or by taking the quiz) and then also take the certification test at the end of the course. The quizzes are designed to ensure that you have understood the essential content of each presentation, and they can be taken more than once if necessary. The cumulative certification test at the end of the course is given as a pass/fail test and requires that you upload one or more essays demonstrating your understanding of the course. (Please note that essays are simply evaluated by word count.) When you have completed the course, a certificate that you can print or email will become available within “My Courses” (accessible under “Courses” in the main menu when you are signed in as an active subscriber).

We recommend previewing the essay question within the end of course test before starting the course. This will help in guiding your note taking as you progress through the course. Please allow approximately 2 weeks for essay submissions to be reviewed.

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Lesson 6: Is God Good?

Length: 19 minutes

Lesson 6: Is God Good? Please sign up for the course before starting the lesson.

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