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.

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 ten 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.

Please Note: ClassicalU is currently developing a certification to accompany our course offerings. The certification credit component of this course is now active but also undergoing refinement and testing.

To obtain a certification credit for this course, simply complete the quiz that follows each presentation in the course, 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. When you have completed the course, a certificate that you can print or email will magically appear under the “My Courses” section of this website.

By taking the course for certification credit, you also will be on your way to obtaining a Level 1 certification.

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