Simone Weil reflects on the life, work, and legacy of an exceptional and enigmatic woman: the philosopher and French Jewish mystic of the same name. It constitutes a testimony so unique that it is impossible to ignore. In a Europe where authoritarian regimes were dominant and heading, in a sinister manner, toward WWII, this woman of fragile health but indomitable spirit denounced the contradictions of the capitalist system, the brutality of Nazism, and the paradox of bourgeois thought. At the same time, her spiritual journey was one of zeal and sorrow – that of a true mystic – but her radical intransigence and passion for freedom kept her from actually approaching the institutional church. Curious and insatiable, she wanted to experience, in the flesh, the suffering of society’s least fortunate and the truths of other religions.
The reader will need to develop a discerning empathy for Simone Weil’s sensibility, beyond her particular passion and zeal, in order to appreciate her in depth. But undeniable are this truly singular woman’s authenticity, her capacity to suffer, her identification with the other, her inner passion, and her almost magical perception of the depths of the human spirit. And that is why her story merits being told as one of the great witnesses of our age.
Foreword by Tomeu Estelrich
Simone Weil Bibliography and Abbreviations Used
English Translations of Simone Weil
From the Translator
1. Timeline and Profile
2. Encountering the Poor
3. Christic Mysticism and the Exodus of Self
4. A Paradoxical Testimony
Conclusion: A Witness for Difficult Times
Appendix I: Letter to Georges Bernanos (1938)
Appendix II: Love (III)
Appendix III: Letter to Maurice Schumann
Appendix IV: Come With Me (Prologue)
Endorsements and Reviews
Bingemer offers a rich theological reflection on some of the central themes emerging from the life and thought of Simone Weil, one of the twentieth century’s most intriguing mystics. The book brings Weil into the heart of the Christian theological tradition, while recognizing her desire to remain clear of any institutional determination. It is an important contribution to Weil studies, and to contemporary mystical theology.
Catherine Cornille, Newton College Alumnae Chair, Boston College
This is an authoritative and erudite work which parallels with precision Weil’s practical commitment to the poor and afflicted with her own philosophical insights. You get a real sense of the person behind the philosophy by reading this book. Bingemer is masterly in pointing to the details of Weil’s extraordinary life as well as to the theology which underpinned that life. For scholars of Weil it will be an invaluable contribution to their collection of writings on Weil. For novices of Weil it will also be extremely useful as a starting point. I recommend it unreservedly.
David Torevell, in Theological Book Review, Vol 27, No 2