Simone Weil - philosopher, religious thinker, mystic, social/political activist - is notoriously difficult to categorize, since her life and writings challenge traditional academic boundaries. As many scholars have recognized, she set out few, if any, systematic theories, especially when it came to religious ideas. In this book, A. Rebecca Rozelle-Stone and Lucian Stone illuminate the ways in which Weil stands outside Western theological tradition by her use of paradox to resist the clamoring for greater degrees of certainty. Beyond a facile fallibilism, Simone Weil's ideas about the super-natural, love, Christianity, and spiritual action, and indeed, her seeming endorsement of a sort of atheism, detachment, foolishness, and passivity, begin to unravel old assumptions about what it is to encounter the divine.
Rebecca Rozelle-Stone and Lucian Stone critically apply Simone Weil's "negative-reflective" theology to attitudes of modernity by grappling with the obscurities in her text. They explore her theories of attention as negative effort, creative action in "decreation", positive elements in affliction, essential ties between love and justice, plus her ambivalence toward Judaism. This presentation of her thought opens the reader to Simone Weil's conception of human life, as she believed it to be revealed in the Gospels. Extensive references to other major thinkers and personal insights into this French philosopher's thought make this work a provocative and valuable contribution to Weil studies. -- Dr. E. Jane Doering, Professor in the College of Arts and Letters, University of Notre Dame, USA This is an extended set of reflections that begin in Weil's claim that "the gospel contains a conception of human life and not a theology." In seriously engaging the post-modern, the authors draw out Weil's deep and subtle meditations on the human temptation to self-deception and on the possibilities of transformation in today's world. There are wonderful insights here on attention, beauty, grace and education that go to the real depth of Weil's thinking. These are things to be thought about carefully and for a long time. -- Eric O. Springsted, President of The American Weil Society Rebecca Rozelle-Stone and Lucian Stone have deftly bypassed the current sterile debates between militant atheists and simplistic Christian fundamentalists by engaging critically with the deep, paradoxical and sometimes disturbing writings of Simone Weil. Many postmodern themes such as the body, the erotic, and the gift are examined through the lens of Weil's understanding of the Gospels which do not contain a theology but manifest a "conception of human life." God or the good is like the sun, only to be understood by an examination of what is illuminated not by a direct gaze. Human goodness is not to be achieved by acts of the will but by attention and decreation. The authors set out to explain Weil's reasons for asserting this. Along the way, they develop an insightful critique of today's liberal, capitalist, therapeutic culture with its tendency to medicalize and psychologize every aspect of humanity. -- Larry Schmidt, Professor Emeritus of Religious Ethics, University of Toronto Those familiar with [Simone Weil's] unsystematic, exploratory and sometimes thoroughly provocative work will find in this volume a refreshing approach to some of her topics in six carefully thought-through chapters. The authors have her converse, so to speak, with a remarkable range of writers quite unknown to her in her time. -- Ann Loades, Durham and St Andrews Theology