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Christian Platonism of Simone Weil

The Christian Platonism of Simone Weil

Edited by E. Jane Doering and Eric O. Springsted

“Anyone interested in Simone Weil will want, and need, to read this superb collection.” —Diogenes Allen, Princeton Theological Seminary

In this book a group of renowned international scholars seek to discern the ways in which Simone Weil was indebted to Plato, and how her provocative readings of his work offer challenges to contemporary philosophy, theology, and spirituality. This is the first book in twenty years to systematically investigate Weil’s Christian Platonism.

The opening section of essays explore what actually constitutes Weil’s Platonism. Louis Dupré addresses the platonic and gnostic elements of her thought with respect to her negative theology, as well as the Christian Platonism of her positive theology as found in her reflections on beauty and the Good. Michel Narcy provides a close historical reading of Weil—showing the degree to which her teacher, Alain, influenced her Platonism. Michael Ross contends that Weil’s interest in Plato is in “ethical Platonism.” An essay by Robert Chenavier and one by Lawrence Schmidt and Patrick Petterson consider the importance of matter and materialism to Weil.

The middle group of essays address more classically metaphysical themes in Weil’s thought. Vance Morgan examines her use of Greek mathematics. Emmauel Gabelleiri writes about Weil’s metaxology, that is, the mediation and relatedness of Being in her thought. Florence de Lussy discusses Weil’s reflection on Being in the last notebooks from Marseilles. Martin Andic underlines the importance of her notion of attention.

The final set of essays draw attention to Weil’s relevance for contemporary spirituality and moral theology. Cyril O’Reagan examines her thinking on violence and evil. Eric Springsted looks at the conceptual links that exist between Weil and Augustine. Finally, David Tracy contends that Weil is the foremost predecessor of recent attempts to reunite the mystical and prophetic.

Drawing together some of the top Weil scholars in the world, this collection offers important new insights into her thought, and will be appreciated by philosophers and theologians.

ISBN: 978-0-268-02564-9
264 pages
Publication Year: 2004

Eric O. Springsted is co-founder and President of the American Weil Society.

E. Jane Doering is a professor in the Core course program and coordinator of the Teachers as Scholars program at the University of Notre Dame

“This is a book of essays by different authors-some principally scholars of the work of Simone Weil, others philosophers of religion and theologians—whose general area is indicated by the title. It is a book to be welcomed, if only because Weil’s work is important and interesting, but, with one or two notable exceptions, is little discussed in mainstream English-speaking philosophy of religion. . . . this is a book worth reading.” — Ars Disputandi

“. . . a veritable intellectual feast to be discovered when one opens this volume. This is indeed a strong collection of essays. It brings together some of the brightest Weil scholars in the world, all focusing on the crucial topic of Weil’s Christian Platonism. Doering and Springsted are to be thanked for making these fine essays available to the reading public.” — Cahiers Simone Weil

“. . . Provides a helpful analysis from different perspectives of Weil’s original approach to Plato. It sheds light on Plato and interpretations of Plato, as well as on Weil’s thought.” — Faith and Reason

“Devoted to the importance of Platonism to Weil, this anthology also undertakes a broad attempt to measure, through the lens of her work, the potential for a renewed appropriation of Plato for Christian self-reflection. Part of a recent trend toward the recovery of Plato as a philosopher of wisdom and ethical pertinence as well as of technical accomplishment, the essays here contribute significantly both to that recovery and to the study of Weil herself.” — Religious Studies Review

“This volume is a welcome addition to the small but developing body of literature on Weil’s thought. It brings together the most important strand of recent North American and French scholarship on Weil. This collection would be a valuable place to start reflection in this direction for Christian thinkers with such concerns.” — Scottish Journal of Theology

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The Christian Platonism of Simone Weil


Edited by E. Jane Doering and Eric O. Springsted

The Christian Platonism of Simone Weil
Cloth Edition
Paper Edition

“Anyone interested in Simone Weil will want, and need, to read this superb collection.” —Diogenes Allen, Princeton Theological Seminary

In this book a group of renowned international scholars seek to discern the ways in which Simone Weil was indebted to Plato, and how her provocative readings of his work offer challenges to contemporary philosophy, theology, and spirituality. This is the first book in twenty years to systematically investigate Weil’s Christian Platonism.

The opening section of essays explore what actually constitutes Weil’s Platonism. Louis Dupré addresses the platonic and gnostic elements of her thought with respect to her negative theology, as well as the Christian Platonism of her positive theology as found in her reflections on beauty and the Good. Michel Narcy provides a close historical reading of Weil—showing the degree to which her teacher, Alain, influenced her Platonism. Michael Ross contends that Weil’s interest in Plato is in “ethical Platonism.” An essay by Robert Chenavier and one by Lawrence Schmidt and Patrick Petterson consider the importance of matter and materialism to Weil.

The middle group of essays address more classically metaphysical themes in Weil’s thought. Vance Morgan examines her use of Greek mathematics. Emmauel Gabelleiri writes about Weil’s metaxology, that is, the mediation and relatedness of Being in her thought. Florence de Lussy discusses Weil’s reflection on Being in the last notebooks from Marseilles. Martin Andic underlines the importance of her notion of attention.

The final set of essays draw attention to Weil’s relevance for contemporary spirituality and moral theology. Cyril O’Reagan examines her thinking on violence and evil. Eric Springsted looks at the conceptual links that exist between Weil and Augustine. Finally, David Tracy contends that Weil is the foremost predecessor of recent attempts to reunite the mystical and prophetic.

Drawing together some of the top Weil scholars in the world, this collection offers important new insights into her thought, and will be appreciated by philosophers and theologians.

ISBN: 978-0-268-02564-9

264 pages

“This is a book of essays by different authors-some principally scholars of the work of Simone Weil, others philosophers of religion and theologians—whose general area is indicated by the title. It is a book to be welcomed, if only because Weil’s work is important and interesting, but, with one or two notable exceptions, is little discussed in mainstream English-speaking philosophy of religion. . . . this is a book worth reading.” — Ars Disputandi

“. . . a veritable intellectual feast to be discovered when one opens this volume. This is indeed a strong collection of essays. It brings together some of the brightest Weil scholars in the world, all focusing on the crucial topic of Weil’s Christian Platonism. Doering and Springsted are to be thanked for making these fine essays available to the reading public.” — Cahiers Simone Weil

“. . . Provides a helpful analysis from different perspectives of Weil’s original approach to Plato. It sheds light on Plato and interpretations of Plato, as well as on Weil’s thought.” — Faith and Reason

“Devoted to the importance of Platonism to Weil, this anthology also undertakes a broad attempt to measure, through the lens of her work, the potential for a renewed appropriation of Plato for Christian self-reflection. Part of a recent trend toward the recovery of Plato as a philosopher of wisdom and ethical pertinence as well as of technical accomplishment, the essays here contribute significantly both to that recovery and to the study of Weil herself.” — Religious Studies Review

“This volume is a welcome addition to the small but developing body of literature on Weil’s thought. It brings together the most important strand of recent North American and French scholarship on Weil. This collection would be a valuable place to start reflection in this direction for Christian thinkers with such concerns.” — Scottish Journal of Theology