The Immaterial Theurgy of Boethius
Curran, Martin H.
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This thesis is an attempt to understand the efficacy of prayer in Boethius’ 'Consolation of Philosophy.' Prayer is man’s commercium with the divine realm, and so prayer is higher than human thought. The highest stage of prayer in the Consolation is similar to that in Iamblichus’ 'De Mysteriis': man becomes aware of his own deficiency compared to the divine and so turns to prayer. Lower prayers are also effective because they are both immaterial theurgy and spiritual exercises. The circles throughout the work are a crucial instance of these prayers. They constantly purify the Prisoner’s soul of false notions, and restore it to its true state. They lead the Prisoner to discover that his activity of thinking is a form of theurgy. The Consolation reveals that in the life of philosophy there is a mutual interdependence between thought, prayer and theurgy.