Spirit, Nature and Community

Issues in the Thought of Simone Weil

By Diogenes Allen & Eric O. Springsted

Subjects: Women In Religion
Series: SUNY series, Simone Weil Studies
Paperback : 9780791420188, 241 pages, July 1994
Hardcover : 9780791420171, 241 pages, August 1994

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Table of contents



Part I: No Longer on the Margins?

1. The Baptism of Simone Weil

2. No Longer on the Margins?

Part II: Nature and Necessity

3. Divine Necessity: Weilian and Platonic Conceptions

4. The Concept of Reading and the Book of Nature

5. Winch on Weil's Supernaturalism

Part III: The Journey of the Soul

6. The Enigma of Affliction

7. The Love of Particulars

8. George Herbert and Simone Weil

Part IV: Persons and Communities

9. Of Tennis, Persons, and Politics

10. Rootedness: Culture and Value
Part V: Epilogue

11. From Words to the Word: Weilian Resources for a New Christian Humanism


Selected Bibliography



This book covers the main aspects of Simone Weil's thought, drawing on her life where it is relevant for understanding her ideas. It is the fruit of many years engagement with scholars and scholarship on Weil in America, France, and the United Kingdom. The philosophical bases of her social and political thought, of her analysis of the natural world, and of her spiritual journey, as found in Plato, Epictetus, and Kant are uncovered.

The authors are especially concerned with controversial aspects of Weil's life and thought: they offer an additional dimension to her understanding of the supernatural; they correct Rowan Williams' misunderstanding of her account of preferential love; and argue against Thomas Nevin's attempt to marginalize her as another example of Jewish self-hatred. The book also presents and assesses the new evidence for Weil's baptism.

Diogenes Allen is Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Princeton Theological Seminary. Eric O. Springsted is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Illinois College and is President of the Simone Weil Society.


"This book is a valuable corrective to many of the more stereotypical readings of Simone Weil. The authors manage to situate Weil's work in a larger context and persuasively argue that her philosophical contributions anticipate and actually illuminate contemporary discussions regarding ethics, politics, and culture. By establishing the basis for a creative dialogue between Weil and contemporary figures such as Charles Taylor and Richard Rorty they have opened up new possibilities for appreciating what Weil can contribute to contemporary ethical, social, political, and cultural discussion. " — David Wisdo