chapter
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Introduction: Boethius in Exile

The present chapter is concerned with first person spiritual writing. The argument is plausible but impossible to prove: on the one hand, the work contains no explicit references to the faith; on the other, as argued earlier in the case of Neoplatonic hagiographies, for it to be effective in an anti-Christian role, people should perhaps not expect them it has received less attention as an example of spiritual autobiography. If correct, this interpretation provides not only further evidence of the literary overlap between first and third person spiritual writing. It also suggests that, at least for a fortunate few, this overlap was rooted in a social context, namely personal contact with holy men. Nonetheless, although it is possible to observe profound connections between first and third person spiritual writing in our period, there is one very important difference: autobiography never contains, as hagiography by definition must contain, a direct assertion of its subject's sanctity.