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Simone Weil for the Twenty-First Century
288 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268200220 | April 2021
Hardcover | 9780268200213 | April 2021
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268200206 | April 2021
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268200237 | April 2021
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This in-depth study examines the social, religious, and philosophical thought of Simone Weil.
Simone Weil for the Twenty-First Century presents a comprehensive analysis of Weil’s interdisciplinary thought, focusing especially on the depth of its challenge to contemporary philosophical and religious studies. In a world where little is seen to have real meaning, Eric O. Springsted presents a critique of the unfocused nature of postmodern philosophy and argues that Weil’s thought is more significant than ever in showing how the world in which we live is, in fact, a world of mysteries. Springsted brings into focus the challenges of Weil’s original (and sometimes surprising) starting points, such as an Augustinian priority of goodness and love over being and intellect, and the importance of the Crucifixion. Springsted demonstrates how the mystical and spiritual aspects of Weil’s writings influence her social thought. For Weil, social and political questions cannot be separated from the supernatural. For her, rather, the world has a sacramental quality, such that life in the world is always a matter of life in God—and life in God, necessarily a way of life in the world.
Simone Weil for the Twenty-First Century is not simply a guide or introduction to Simone Weil. Rather, it is above all an argument for the importance of Weil’s thought in the contemporary world, showing how she helps us to understand the nature of our belonging to God (sometimes in very strange and unexpected ways), the importance of attention and love as the root of both the love of God and neighbor, the importance of being rooted in culture (and culture’s service to the soul in rooting it in the universe), and the need for human beings to understand themselves as communal beings, not as isolated thinkers or willers. It will be essential reading for scholars of Weil, and will also be of interest to philosophers and theologians.
Eric O. Springsted is the co-founder of the American Weil Society and served as its president for thirty-three years. After a career as a teacher, scholar, and pastor, he is retired and lives in Santa Fe, NM. He is the author and editor of a dozen previous books, including Simone Weil: Late Philosophical Writings (University of Notre Dame Press, 2015).
“This book is an original contribution to Weil studies and beyond because it seeks to apply Simone Weil’s thought to twenty-first century issues directly. It is most welcome and valuable for exactly that reason.” —Vance G. Morgan, author of Weaving the World
"In these finely crafted and richly illuminating essays, renowned Weil scholar Eric Springsted confirms the continuing relevance of Simone Weil’s work for an age in which serious thought about matters of value—ethical, political, religious, and aesthetic—is becoming increasingly rare. This long-awaited book should be essential reading for anyone interested in this extraordinary French thinker." —Mario von der Ruhr, associate editor of Philosophical Investigations
"Springsted explores [Simone Weil's] thought while bringing it into conversation with other philosophers. His discussion of her religious reflections is particularly valuable." —The Irish Catholic
“The book is a product of a lifetime of close and thoughtful engagement with Weil’s writings in which, to some extent, Weil’s thought and Springsted’s have become intertwined, such that it becomes hard to tease one out from the other. He is a guide with something to share not only with those new to Weil’s thought, but those who have explored her highways and byways on many occasions.” —Philosophical Investigations
"This book proposes taking French philosopher Simone Weil as a polestar to inspire and orient thought in the twenty-first century. . . . [it] seeks a broader readership that need not be well versed in her thought. Weil is recommended as a model for leading a thoughtful life of action exemplifying integrity, discipline, and the exercise of attention." —The Review of Metaphysics
"In his book, Simone Weil in the Twenty-First Century, Eric Springsted reveals his thorough knowledge and deep understanding of this French philosopher and mystic. . . . the book does justice to Weil's diverse interests, showing their connections while resisting the temptation to build a system, thus staying true to her own approach." —Theology Today