Platonism has too often been identified as a heretical strain of religion that needs exorcising from the Christian consciousness. With the recent shift in Platonic scholarship (via Pierre Hadot and Emmanuel Levinas) stressing Platonic philosophy as a way of life grounded in a sense of the Good and its concrete demands on human conduct, the theological world has been liberated enough to identify Platonism as part of the foundation of early Christian spirituality and mysticism--hot topics in our current intellectual climate. Enter Simone Weil. Typically ahead of her time, Weil's social and religious thought is infused with the Platonic spirit; and if we wish to engage the pertinent issues of Christian Platonism in our time, we'd do well to engage Weil on the matter. The editors of this volume make it clear this collection of essays is not merely an investigation into the internal sources of Weil's thinking but rather an examination of Christian Platonism's contributions to the contemporary world, as seen through Weil's efforts. These ''efforts''--like Weil herself--encompass far more than our cerebral (and somewhat typical) conjectures of philosophy and God. Discussions of Weil's political and moral philosophy fill these pages, as well as her views on science and metaphysics, including a fascinating chapter on the poetry of mathematics. Most importantly, however, is the foundational sense of Weil's most basic driving motivation--her desire to know and love things as they are--a motivation that reveals the recovery of a spiritual tradition by a delightfully original mind.
An Eighth Day View:
In this book, a group of renowned international scholars seek to discern the ways in which Simone Weil was indebted to Plato, and how her provocative readings of his work offer challenges to contemporary philosophy, theology, and spirituality. This is the first book in twenty years to systematically investigate Weil's Christian Platonism. The opening essays explore what actually constitutes Weil's Platonism. Louis Dupre addresses the Platonic and Gnostic elements of her thought with respect to her negative theology, and the Christian Platonism of her positive theology as found in her reflections on beauty and the Good. Michel Narcy provides a close historical reading of Weil and discusses the degree to which her teacher Alain influenced her Platonism. Michael Ross contends that Weil's interest in Plato is in "ethical Platonism." Essays by Robert Chenavier and by Patrick Patterson and Lawrence Schmidt consider the importance of matter and materialism in Weil's Platonism and argue that it is key to understanding her political thought. A middle group of essays addresses more classically metaphysical themes in Weil's thought. Vance G. Morgan examines her use of Greek mathematics. Florence de Lussy analyzes Weil's distinctive, mystical Platonic reflections on Being in the last notebooks from Marseilles. Emmauel Gabellieri discusses Weil's "metaxology," that is, the mediation and relatedness of Being, shown in her speculative thought. Martin Andic underlines the importance of her notion of attention. The final set of essays considers Weil's relevance for contemporary spirituality and moral theology. Cyril O'Regan examines her thinking on violence and evil. Eric Springsted looks at theconceptual links that exist between Weil and Augustine. Finally, David Tracy contends that Weil is the foremost predecessor of recent attempts to reunite the mystical and prophetic. Drawing together some of the top Weil scholars in the world, this collection offers important new insights into her thought, and will be appreciated by philosophers and theologians.