Brilliant! Going in, I expected this to be difficult, like Plotinus, but it was actually very readable. It reminded me in places of The Republic, although the character of Boethius is much more lovable than that of Socrates. Also, I was fuzzy going in on whether Boethius was writing as a Christian or a Platonist. As it turns out, he has a foot in each camp. Christian-ish Neoplatonism, with a dash of Stoicism added in. Or maybe he was a Christian but decided to write his defense of philosophy without reference to divine revelation, just because? It is hard to tell. Anyway, this was just marvelous! Boethius tackles the big questions of monotheism: theodicy, providence vs free will (which he does a particularly nice job with, btw); eternity vs infinity (this isn't one of the Big Questions, or has never been for me, but I found it fascinating anyway!), etc. Not that his answers, particularly to that of suffering, are fully satisfactory, but whose are? He doesn't tie himself in knots, the way Aristotle and Plotinus do, and the poems in between the prose sections are lovely. The notes in this edition (Ignatius Critical Editions) are fantastic. Not only do they tell you everything you want to know (and maybe a little more), but they are on the Bottoms of the Relevant Pages, where notes Belong! I Love not having to flip to the back of the book to read the notes. Plus, the binding is a nice sturdy one, which makes a nice change (hint, hint, Oxford World's Classics!). The notes explain all the people, events, and stories a reader might not know, and also the works that Boethius is (or may be) referencing - the Bible, Hesiod, Homer, Horace, Virgil, Juvenal, Lucretius, Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, Augustine, etc. They also point to later authors who drew on Boethius, particularly Aquinas, Chaucer, Dante, Shakespeare, Milton (and not forgetting John Kennedy Toole!). Great book, great notes. *The Contemporary Criticism, at the end, was less impressive. This was a collection of six essays on Boethius & the Consolation, by various authors (all college professors, with schools noted), none of which I found indispensable. Out of the six, I read the second, third, and fourth, and found them mildly interesting. The first, fifth, and sixth I tried but gave up on. I think it says something good about Boethius and his translators/footnoters that I didn't feel much Need for explanatory essays!