This Church History course will be taught by Dr. Anthony Cirilla, and will run from April 11 through June 17. The syllabus is available here.
C.S. Lewis wrote of Boethius’s The Consolation of Philosophy, “To get a taste for it is almost to become naturalized in the Middle Ages,” placing it on the top ten list of books which most influenced him. Theologians such as Anselm, Aquinas, and Peter Abelard were deeply influenced by Boethius’s work, as was the medieval conception of the seven liberal arts and medieval literature in general. Translated by King Alfred’s circle, by Chaucer into Middle English as well as by two other Middle English writers, and by Queen Elizabeth I, The Consolation of Philosophy also profoundly inspired writers such as Dante, Thomas More, Jean de Meun, and many others.
This course will examine Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy from its theological and liberal arts context and with an eye to the history of its massive theological, philosophical, and literary influence. We will start by reading the Opuscula Sacra, Boethius’s five theological tracts (two on the Trinity, one on Christology, one on the nature of created vs uncreated goodness, and one a general statement of the Christian faith). A brief tour of Boethius’s extensive liberal arts writing will form a bridge between his theological tracts and his magnum opus. We will then spend most of the course reading The Consolation of Philosophy closely, seeing how Boethius’s theological and academic work coalesced into his final production. The last meeting of the course will end with a case study of his vast literary influence, namely with a reading of two Middle English works: Sir Orfeo and Pearl.
Dr. Anthony Cirilla teaches writing and literature courses at College of the Ozarks. He is also associate editor of Carmina Philosophiae, the journal of the International Boethius Society. Originally from Western New York (the Buffalo/Niagara region), he is happy to be back in Missouri. His wife, Camarie, writes poetry and fairy tales. They attend St. Joseph Anglican Church in Branson.
Online only, runs 10 weeks, meeting 2 hr./wk. via Zoom. Students will also have the option to participate in class discussion on the Davenant Common Room Discord server. Register to reserve your spot and schedule will be set after a poll of participating students; if the class time does not fit your schedule, you will be eligible for a full refund.
This is a graduate-level course. Although a BA is not a necessary pre-requisite for this course, students should come prepared to do graduate-level work.