The Mystical and Prophetic Thought of Simone Weil and Gustavo Gutiérrez

Reflections on the Mystery and Hiddenness of God

By Alexander Nava

Subjects: Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791451786, 217 pages, October 2001
Hardcover : 9780791451779, 217 pages, November 2001

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Table of contents

List of Abbreviations

Introduction: A New Saintliness for Our Time

I. Mysticism, Marx, and Work in Simone Weil

II. The Mystical-Aesthetical Vision of Simone Weil

III. Mysticism and Love in the Theology of Gutierrez

IV. The Prophetic-Tragic Thought of Simone Weil: Reflections on the Hidden God

V. Liberation Theology and the Hiddenness of God in the Thought of Gutierrez

VI. The Mystical-Prophetic Thought of Weil and Gutierrez: Reflections on the Mystery and Hiddenness of God


Brings together the thought of liberation theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez and Christian philosopher Simone Weil to present a unique vision that can speak of both the reality of suffering and the desire for mystical experience.


Two Christian thinkers—philosopher Simone Weil and theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez—are brought together here. While very different in background, situation, and in their writings, Weil and Gutiérrez display striking points of contact in their lives and work. Author Alexander Nava finds that together the two provide a philosophical and theological vision that integrates the mystical and the prophetic, two dimensions of the Christian tradition that are often considered mutually exclusive. Exploring the thought of Weil and Gutiérrez, this book shows that both are suspicious of forms of mysticism that minimize the harsh reality of suffering and violence, and that both have a serious mistrust of prophetic traditions that deny the contributions of mystical interpretations, practices, and ways of speaking to and about the Divine mystery. Nava proposes that dialogue between the thought of Weil and Gutiérrez and between the mystical and prophetic traditions can lead to a more authentic understanding of the diversity and creativity of religious thought.

Alexander Nava is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Arizona.


"The key to the book's importance is twofold: Nava's presentation of two figures—Weil and Gutiérrez—who have not been written about together at any length heretofore. The second value is his scrupulous threading in of classical materials from the history of mysticism. No one book combines the materials that Nava has done with such seeming ease. His is an illuminating read that combines two elements—mysticism and prophetic tradition—and situates the intellectual contribution of Weil and Gutiérrez—with accessible style and intelligent commentary." — Clare B. Fischer, author of Of Spirituality: A Feminist Perspective