Manual Because of Beauvoir: Christianity and the Cultivation of Female Genius

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  2. Reading Romans Backwards
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It is unclear at this distance of time though, how her work was valued in ways other than through the appreciation of former pupils. She may have been paid on an equitable basis with other members of staff and given similar opportunities to develop as an educator, but it is equally possible that her male and her Nigerian colleagues would have been treated differently from her — and from each other. Scottish Women On A Mission. Create a free website or blog at WordPress. Like this: Like Loading Search for:.

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Follow the SWOAM blog via email Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Join 34 other followers Follow. Post to Cancel. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Eliot 's preface to The Need for Roots suggests that Weil might be regarded as a modern-day Marcionite , [58] due to her virtually wholesale rejection of the Old Testament and her overall distaste for the Judaism that was technically hers by birth.

Her niece, Sylvie Weil, and biographer Thomas R. Nevin have sought, on the contrary, to demonstrate that Weil did not reject Judaism and was heavily influenced by its precepts. Absence is the key image for her metaphysics , cosmology , cosmogony , and theodicy. She believed that God created by an act of self-delimitation—in other words, because God is conceived as a kind of utter fullness, a perfect being, no creature could exist except where God was not. Thus creation occurred only when God withdrew in part.

Similar ideas occur in Jewish mysticism. This is, for Weil, an original kenosis "emptiness" preceding the corrective kenosis of Christ's incarnation cf. We are thus born in a sort of damned position not owing to original sin as such, but because to be created at all we had to be precisely what God is not, i. See Apophatic theology. This notion of creation is a cornerstone of her theodicy , for if creation is conceived this way as necessarily containing evil within itself , then there is no problem of the entrance of evil into a perfect world.

Nor does this constitute a delimitation of God's omnipotence , if it is not that God could not create a perfect world, but that the act which we refer towards by saying "create" in its very essence implies the impossibility of perfection. However, this notion of the necessity of evil does not mean that we are simply, originally, and continually doomed; on the contrary, Weil tells us that "Evil is the form which God's mercy takes in this world".

Weil's concept of affliction malheur goes beyond simple suffering , though it certainly includes it. Only some souls are capable of experiencing the full depth of affliction; the same souls that are also most able to experience spiritual joy. Affliction is a sort of suffering "plus", which transcends both body and mind; such physical and mental anguish scourges the very soul.

War and oppression were the most intense cases of affliction within her reach; to experience it, she turned to the life of a factory worker, while to understand it she turned to Homer 's Iliad. Affliction was associated both with necessity and with chance —it was fraught with necessity because it was hard-wired into existence itself, and thus imposed itself upon the sufferer with the full force of the inescapable, but it was also subject to chance inasmuch as chance, too, is an inescapable part of the nature of existence.

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The element of chance was essential to the unjust character of affliction; in other words, my affliction should not usually—let alone always—follow from my sin, as per traditional Christian theodicy, but should be visited upon me for no special reason. The better we are able to conceive of the fullness of joy, the purer and more intense will be our suffering in affliction and our compassion for others.

Suffering and enjoyment as sources of knowledge.

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The serpent offered knowledge to Adam and Eve. The sirens offered knowledge to Ulysses.

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These stories teach that the soul is lost through seeking knowledge in pleasure. Pleasure is perhaps innocent on condition that we do not seek knowledge in it. It is permissible to seek that only in suffering. The concept of metaxu , which Weil borrowed from Plato , is that which both separates and connects e.

This idea of connecting distance was of the first importance for Weil's understanding of the created realm. The world as a whole, along with any of its components, including our physical bodies , is to be regarded as serving the same function for us in relation to God that a blind man's stick serves for him in relation to the world about him. They do not afford direct insight, but can be used experimentally to bring the mind into practical contact with reality.

This metaphor allows any absence to be interpreted as a presence, and is a further component in Weil's theodicy. For Weil, "The beautiful is the experiential proof that the incarnation is possible". The beauty which is inherent in the form of the world this inherency is proven, for her, in geometry , and expressed in all good art is the proof that the world points to something beyond itself; it establishes the essentially telic character of all that exists.

Her concept of beauty extends throughout the universe: "we must have faith that the universe is beautiful on all levels It is this very agreement of an infinity of perfect beauties that gives a transcendent character to the beauty of the world He Christ is really present in the universal beauty.

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The love of this beauty proceeds from God dwelling in our souls and goes out to God present in the universe". She also wrote that "The beauty of this world is Christ's tender smile coming to us through matter". Beauty also served a soteriological function for Weil: "Beauty captivates the flesh in order to obtain permission to pass right to the soul.

Where affliction conquers us with brute force, beauty sneaks in and topples the empire of the self from within. According to Lissa McCullough, Weil would likely have been "intensly displeased" by the attention paid to her life rather than her works. She believed it was her writings that embodied the best of her, not her actions and definitely not her personality. Weil had similar views about others, saying that if one looks at the lives of great figures in separation from their works, it "necessarily ends up revealing their pettiness above all", as it's in their works that they have put the best of themselves.

Anna Fisk | University of Glasgow -

Weil's most famous works were published posthumously. In the decades since her death, her writings have been assembled, annotated, criticized, discussed, disputed, and praised. Along with some twenty volumes of her works, publishers have issued more than thirty biographies, including Simone Weil: A Modern Pilgrimage by Robert Coles, Harvard 's Pulitzer -winning professor, who calls Weil 'a giant of reflection. Weil's book The Need for Roots was written in early , immediately before her death later that year.

She was in London working for the French Resistance and trying to convince its leader, Charles de Gaulle , to form a contingent of nurses who would serve at the front lines. The Need for Roots has an ambitious plan. She painstakingly analyzes the spiritual and ethical milieu that led to France's defeat by the German army, and then addresses these issues with the prospect of eventual French victory.

During her lifetime, Weil was only known to relatively narrow circles; even in France, her essays were mostly read only by those interested in radical politics. Yet during the first decade after her death, Weil rapidly became famous, attracting attention throughout the West. For the 3rd quarter of the twentieth century, she was widely regarded as the most influential person in the world on new work concerning religious and spiritual matters. As well as influencing fields of study, Weil deeply affected the personal lives of numerous individuals; Pope Paul VI , for example, said that Weil was one of his three greatest influences.

However more of her work was gradually published, leading to many thousands of new secondary works by Weil scholars; some of whom focused on achieving a deeper understanding of her religious, philosophical and political work. Others broadened the scope of Weil scholarship to investigate her applicability to fields like classical studies, cultural studies, education and even technical fields like ergonomics.


Many commentators who have assessed Weil as a person were highly positive; many described her as a saint, some even as the greatest saint of the twentieth century, including T. Gustave Thibon , the French philosopher and close friend, recounts their last meeting, not long before her death: "I will only say that I had the impression of being in the presence of an absolutely transparent soul which was ready to be reabsorbed into original light".

Weil has however been criticised even by those who otherwise deeply admired her, such as Eliot, for being excessively prone to divide the world into good and evil, and for her sometimes intemperate judgments. Weil was a harsh critic of the influence of Judaism on Western civilisation, and an even harsher critic of the Roman empire , in which she refused to see any value at all.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. French philosopher, Christian mystic, and social activist. Not to be confused with Simone Veil , a French politician. Ashford , Kent , England. People by era or century. Desert Fathers. Contemporary papal views.

go site Aspects of meditation Orationis Formas , Anarchism portal Christianity portal Judaism portal. Mercer University Press. The University of North Carolina Press. Jane, and Eric O. Springsted, eds.