Documentary on Simone Weil

I just noticed, via the American Weil Society, that there’s a documentary film on the life and thought of Simone Weil: An Encounter with Simone Weil. Here’s the trailer:

I hope they deal adequately with her theology and not merely her political views, since both are of a piece. For those who have no idea who Simone Weil is — shame on you — you should start with Waiting for God.

By the way, if you are a Protestant, or a good Thomist in the Roman camp, you will rightly sense a too Platonic otherworldliness in Weil’s spirituality, and you’ll probably think that she should occasionally just settle down and enjoy a beer for God’s sake! And you would be right.

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7 comments

  1. Indeed she was one heck of an intellectual, and perhaps a Kierkegaardian. But certainly a French Catholic type mystic-soul! “The only great spirit of our time.” (Albert Camus)

    “The highest ecstasy is the attention at its fullest.” (SW)

    • I think the category of “prophet” describes her well. She disturbs us, as the prophets disturbed Israel.

      • Kevin: She certainly was “prophetic”, and yes she disturbs some of us! But, her kind are so rare, both spiritually and intellectually.

        It seems we both have read and traveled some same roads and ground? I know being raised Irish Roman Catholic, with a scientist Father, and several aunts and great aunts, that pressed me toward English Lit., was a blessing and providence!

      • I discovered Weil through my ancient philosophy professor at UNC Charlotte. This professor was the only conservative-leaning professor on the philosophy faculty and described herself as a Platonist, hence she recommended Simone Weil and Iris Murdoch, the two great Platonists of the 20th century. Murdoch was actually more truly a Platonist, since she was an atheist who believed in the Good as an absolute metaphysical something but not any particular theism.

      • Kevin,

        It always interests me how we sinful beings are so ready to believe anything besides God’s Word & Revelation! Even as Christians we are apt to follow our own ideas, rather than God’s. It is here that Calvin knew something of the depth of so-called original sin. Indeed St. Paul’s Romans chapters 1 & 2, and then chapter 3 also, really speaks to this depth! Btw, mere conscience alone always equals guilt. It is here also that Luther too knew something of the depth of human sin, apart from God’s Word & Revelation. Note, we need Law & Gospel, as Paul gives great revelation, (Gal. 4:1-5, etc.). It is here that Barth appears to miss the theological mark with his dialectical method? What do you think?

      • Yes, I do think that is where Barth’s dialectics fail to do justice to Scripture. After I read Berkhouwer’s Triumph of Grace, I was pretty well convinced that the old-fashioned Lutheran and Reformed approach to law and gospel was superior, though I do supplement this with some aspects of Barth’s supralapsarian Christology. Thanks to Barth, I do think of creation in entirely Christological terms. His dictum, “covenant is the form of creation and creation is the material of the covenant,” is quite possibly my favorite thing in Barth’s whole project.

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