Boethius was a philosopher, theologian, poet, musician, and Roman statesman of the sixth century. Accused of treason and facing an unjust execution, he wrote a little book that would become one of the most widely read texts in the West for the next 1,500 years: The Consolation of Philosophy. These study sessions, led by Dr. Stephen Blackwood, will involve a close reading of the entire work.

Saturday, 26 March: Said Mass 10:00 am | Session 10:45 am-2:30 pm (lunch provided)

Wednesday, 30 March: Said Mass 5:30 pm | Session 6:00-8:15 pm (PWYC dinner)

Saturday, 9 April: Said Mass 10:00 am | Session 10:45 am-12:15 pm

Wednesday, 13 April: Said Mass 5:30 pm | Session 6:00-8:15 pm (PWYC dinner)


St Thomas's Church, 383 Huron Street, Toronto

$25 for all sessions (or PWYC) | $25 for the book (Loeb edition)

OR $45 for both

To register:



Dr. Stephen Blackwood was born in western Canada, though he spent most of his childhood and formative years of education in the Maritimes. He was admitted to the degree of Master of Arts in Classics at Dalhousie University in 1999, and received his Ph.D. from Emory University in 2010. He taught for two years in the Foundation Year Programme at the University of King's College. His academic specialty is the literary history of philosophy, and his recent work is on Boethius. Dr. Blackwood is currently a Visiting Research Scholar at Trinity College and also the President of Ralston College, a start-up liberal arts college in Savannah, Georgia, that has not yet begun operations.

Seminar Description 

Boethius was a philosopher, theologian, poet, musician, and Roman statesman, who in 524 C.E. was accused of treason and sentenced to death. While awaiting an unjust execution, Boethius poured his last days into writing a book, which he called The Consolation of Philosophy. Hardly could he have known that this little book, composed in his prison cell, would become one of the most widely read texts of the West for the next 1,500 years. The Consolation of Philosophy contains at once the searing power of a love story, and the tough love of philosophy. It strives to enact the healing touch of God and to preach a gospel of self-recollection. It is somehow both a spiritual ascent and a radical affirmation of the temporal world. These study sessions will involve a close, careful reading of the entire work that is attentive to the beauty and complexity of its literary form and prominent themes, including: worldly contingency, recollection, the nature and limits of human knowing, divine providence, and the efficacy of prayer.

Quotable Quotes 

Unlike most texts, The Consolation of Philosophy is a rich mix of literary genres – poetry, philosophy, satire, drama – and each of these is necessary to the peculiarly human consolation the work conveys.

When we pick up the Consolation, we pick up a text of many ages at once: composed in the twilight of the ancient world; copied, sung, and studied by monks and scribes of the Middle Ages; admired by Dante and Aquinas; translated by Chaucer and Elizabeth I; and loved for its beauty by countless readers as by ourselves.