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Lady Philosophy’s Therapeutic Method: The ‘Gentler’ and the ‘Stronger’ Remedies in Boethius’s De Consolatione Philosophiae
Medieval English Studies (2002)
  • Philip Edward Phillips, Middle Tennessee State University
Abstract

In Boethius’s De Consolatione Philosophiae, Lady Philosophy assumes the roles of Socratic teacher and syncretic physician. While writing his work within the tradition of the philosophical lamentatio and consolatio, Boethius drew upon his knowledge of Greek and Roman medical theory in his presentation of the persona of Philosophy as doctor. Boethius employs the symptoms of lethargy, which were current among physicians of the time, in his description of the dejected narrator, and he assigns Lady Philosophy the role of spiritual physician. The symptoms that Lady Philosophy “reveals” in her patient are commensurate with his Platonic and spiritual exile from the summum bonum, or God. Lady Philosophy’s therapeutic method, that seeks to discover the wound and to treat it accordingly with “gentler” and “stronger” remedies, mirrors the ancient physician’s approach to acclimate patients to medicines of increasing strength. Lady Philosophy’s therapeutic method successfully employs the methods advocated by such writers as Galen and Caelius Aurelianus with the purpose of restoring the patient to health in both body and soul.

Keywords
  • Medieval philosophy,
  • medicine in literature,
  • Boethius,
  • The Consolation of Philosophy
Publication Date
2002
Citation Information
Philip Edward Phillips. "Lady Philosophy’s Therapeutic Method: The ‘Gentler’ and the ‘Stronger’ Remedies in Boethius’s De Consolatione Philosophiae" Medieval English Studies Vol. 10 Iss. 2 (2002)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/philip_phillips/20/