This was the perfect time for book three of Consolation to come along. We all know that, five days and change from now, when the federal election commission declares the votes tallied and one of two men president-elect, the nastiness that characterizes a presidential campaign is going magically to disappear, and one of the two major party candidates is going to tell a throng of supporters to back the other guy. With that as our background we dug into Boethius, who says very plainly that a scoundrel who becomes a consul does not stop being a scoundrel but becomes rather a public scoundrel. Both classes had good discussions over that point, some people arguing that such a respect for the office is necessary for civic unity and others saying it’s rank hypocrisy. Both agreed that a scoundrel doesn’t stop being a scoundrel, but some argued that because the official is elected by popular will, the populace still should show some respect.
We also got into some harder-core philosophy, talking about the possibility of philosophical theology and about the mostly-negative (e.g. not limited, not dependent, not moving) attributes of Boethius’s God as we examined his hymn that any good NeoPlatonist could have written. One student in 8:00 made the very good case that some of the Psalms read not unlike Boethius’s hymn, and I did have to concede that point.
Despite the fact that I was being observed while fighting a cold and mild laryngitis, both classes discussed well, and I’m feeling good, going into the home stretch, that they’ll be able to handle the hard-core philosophy in Boethius’s last two books.