Neoplatonism Through the Renaissance


How else has Boëthius been influential long after his death?

Boëthius (480–c. 525) is best known for his stoic-Neoplatonic text, The Consolation of Philosophy, which he wrote while in prison after having been accused of conspiring with Justinian to overthrow Theodoric. This text was influential throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. It was translated into AngloSaxon, German, and French by 1300, and it inspired the writers Dante, Boccaccio, and Chaucer, as well as many, many others.

In The Consolation of Philosophy Boëthius defined God as eternal and the complete and perfect sum total of never-ending life. The created universe had no beginning or end, but existed in time. Boëthius resolved the contradiction between the fact that God knows everything and the fact that man has free will by claiming that God has a simultaneous understanding of everything that happens in time, including human freedom.


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