Plato, Platonism & Christian Platonism

The Gospel According to Hermes: Intimations of Christianity in Greek Myth, Poetry & Philosophy

Ron Samuel Dart, Bradley Jersak, Simon Oliver, Lazar Puhalo, & Wm. Paul Young, read

Tertullian famously asked, “What hath Athens to do with Jerusalem?” Perhaps the title of this work will raise the question, “What hath Hermes to do with Christ?” Quite a lot, as it turns out, by way of comparison, contrast, illustration, and prefigurement. Hermes, herein, represents far more than a particular figure in Greek mythology. Hermes functions as a placeholder, symbolizing the legacy of ancient Greek myth, poetry, and philosophy—and also the layered hermeneutics that classical Greek education contributed to both Jewish and Christian interpretations of the Scriptures, and the development of their theology, doctrine, and ethics. Despite the unfortunate but popular assumption of a Jewish-Greek dualism among many scholars since Adolf von Harnack, the stubborn and happy fact is that the New Testament itself already demonstrates a profound integration of the Hellenized Judaism established in Alexandria. The first Christian theologians were not contaminating some imaginary pure Jewish Christianity with Greek accretions. Rather, our authors will propose and demonstrate the confluence of both great streams in the development of the New Testament Scriptures, patristic theology, and hermeneutics. This collection of essays is but a faint echo of Simone Weil’s formidable work, Intimations of Christianity Among the Ancient Greeks, and is certainly inspired by her insights. Our authors will propose and demonstrate the confluence of both great streams in the development of the New Testament Scriptures, patristic theology, and hermeneutics. This collection of essays is but a faint echo of Simone Weil’s formidable work, Intimations of Christianity Among the Ancient Greeks, and is certainly inspired by her insights.

Book Review: The Christian Platonism of Simone Weil

Christopher Hamilton read

Excerpt:

This is a book of essays by different authors – some principally scholars of the work of Simone Weil, others philosophers of religion and theologians – whose general area is indicated by the title. It is a book to be welcomed, if only because Weil’s work is important and interesting, but, with one or two notable exceptions, is little discussed in mainstream English-speaking philosophy of religion. There are many reasons for this lack of attention to Weil: the scattered, note-book form of much of her writing; the aphoristic style she often adopts; the difficulty of properly capturing her sense of things in English; the mystical strain in her work; there are no doubt others. Indeed, one of these other reasons is pointed out by David Tracy: there is a sense in which Weil is an impossible figure because she was herself so keenly aware of the sense, or senses, in which Christianity – by which I mean, leading a life that genuinely seeks to be Christ-like (as Weil herself did), not that other thing, membership of a kind of club – is impossible. I am not, however, entirely clear what Tracy means by ‘impossible’ here: I myself, as I have intimated, would see it in the demand to love all human beings, in the requirement of infinite forgiveness, in the injunction never to judge and so on. Tracy, however, relates it to the notion of the tragic, claiming that ‘Weil. . . restored tragedy to a [his emphasis] prominent place in both the reading of Plato and the reading of Christianity’ (240). There is something in this, but it would have been good to have a more detailed discussion: Tracy, for example, sees clearly that Weil’s readings are often wilful – he is especially critical of her understanding of Judaism – and one might wonder whether she is just as wilful (as I suspect she is) in her reading of, for example, Plato, to whom a tragic vision seems in so many ways deeply alien. Or again, Tracy refers to Weil’s sense of fate and our being cursed, and I would very much have liked to see these extremely interesting notions dealt with in more detail in his otherwise very suggestive paper.

Ars Disputandi, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 80-84 (2006)

“I Dreamed I Saw Saint Augustine . . .”

Eric Springsted

in Doering, E. Jane & Springsted, Eric, eds, The Christian Platonism of Simone Weil, Notre Dame: IN: University of Notre Dame Press, pp. 209-228

The Christian Platonism of Simone Weil

E. Jane Doering & Eric O. Springsted, editors read

“Anyone interested in Simone Weil will want, and need, to read this superb collection.”―Diogenes Allen, Princeton Theological Seminary   “These essays―some written by leading specialists in Simone Weil’s thought, others by prominent theologians and philosophers of religion―are especially valuable not only for elucidating Weil’s reading of Plato but also for showing what one or another form of Christian Platonism can mean for us today.”―James A. Wiseman, O.S.B., Catholic University of America

“This remarkable and penetrating collection of essays on Simone Weil’s religious philosophy illumines the living intersection between serious metaphysics and ethics. The authors carefully examine this relation that much post-modern reflection has until now only skimmed, but that Weil herself managed to embrace with breathtaking intellectual discipline and self-giving. The book is a bracing testimony to the deep moral consequences of classical ontology and its challenging Christian reorientation.” ―The Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner, Ascension Episcopal Church, Pueblo, Colorado

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.

University of Notre Dame Press, 2004

“Simone Weil: Completing Platonism Through a Consistent Materialism”

Robert Chenavier

in Doering, E. Jane & Springsted, Eric, eds, The Christian Platonism of Simone Weil, Notre Dame: IN: University of Notre Dame Press, pp. 61-76

“Reconstructing Platonism: The Trinitarian Metaxology of Simone Weil”

Emmanuel Gabellieri

in Doering, E. Jane & Springsted, Eric, eds, The Christian Platonism of Simone Weil, Notre Dame: IN: University of Notre Dame Press, pp. 133-158

“The Limits and Significance of Simone Weil’s Platonism”

Michel Narcy

in Doering, E. Jane & Springsted, Eric, eds, The Christian Platonism of Simone Weil, Notre Dame: IN: University of Notre Dame Press, pp. 23-42.

“Countermimesis and Simone Weil’s Christian Platonism”

Cyril O’Regan

in Doering, E. Jane & Springsted, Eric, eds, The Christian Platonism of Simone Weil, Notre Dame: IN: University of Notre Dame Press, pp. 181-208