Suffering Divine Things: Simone Weil and Jewish Mysticism

Rico Sneller read

in Spirituality and Global Ethics, Masaeli, Mahmoud, ed., Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 9-26

Simone Weil: Suffering, Attention and Compassionate Thought

Stuart Jesson read

This article explores Simone Weil’s account of the relationship between human suffering and intellectual life, with reference to the issues raised by the allegation that as an enterprise theodicy evinces a failure to ‘take suffering seriously’. The article shows how Weil’s understanding of the relationship between suffering and attention gives a clear and powerful account of the way that compassion – which involves an uncompromising acceptance of suffering – can be discerned in patterns of thought. Nevertheless, it is less clear in her work how these convictions might serve as a guide for theological statements. Weil’s understanding of the Christian conception of life is centered on the experience of finding God present in and through suffering, and this leaves her with the problem of how to reconcile her commitment not to ‘sweeten what is bitter’ with consolations or compensations with her intuition that the truth of creaturely existence is made available through suffering. Through an analysis of the inner contours of this conflict, it is argued that Weil’s central problem is of how to articulate spiritual reality in such a way as to encourage undivided attention.

Studies in Christian Ethics, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 185-201

War, Suffering, and Detachment: Reading the Bhagavad Gītā with Simone Weil

Maria Clara Bingemer read

Maria Clara Bingemer states she desires to do two things in her essay: “trace the personal and intellectual background against which Weil came to read the Gita” and “discuss some of the main themes which surface in her critical engagement with the text.”  To this end, she begins with a brief biographical overview focusing on Weil’s encounter with the Gita. She then turns to a general discussion of how the Gita served as a source of inspiration for Weil, especially in the sense of contradiction giving rise to a spiritual crisis, which can lead to religious transformation through the vehicle of grace. The next section focuses on incarnation and salvation noting similarities and differences between Hinduism and Christianity in the understanding of these. A discussion of the distinction between force and violence in Weil’s work comes next followed by an in-depth discussion of necessity, detachment, and enlightenment. The chapter concludes with a thoughtful consideration of Weil’s critique of the Gita.

The essay appears in Catherine Cornille, ed., Song Divine : Christian Commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita, Leuven, Peeters (2006), pp. 69-89

ht: Simone Weil Bibliography

“Simone Weil on Suffering and Reading”

Diogenes Allen

Communico, vol. 11, pp. 297-304.