Theologian Thursday: Simone Weil (1909-1943)

Added on by Keegan Osinski.

Simone Weil was a French anarchist and political activist turned Catholic mystic. She was born to an affluent Jewish family in Paris, and despite her wealthy upbringing devoted her life to living among and fighting for the working class. One story tells how, when she was five years old, she refused to eat sugar in solidarity with the French soldiers, who had none on the battlefields of WWI.

Her Jewish heritage (which she, in many ways, rejected), combined with her study of philosophy and interest in anarcho-communism, makes for an interesting theology.

Weil's idea of creation is especially interesting: since God is perfect fullness, creation occurs when God withdraws--to make room, in a way, for creation to exist--and in this way humanity is separated from God, not necessarily as a result of willful sin. The incarnation of Jesus Christ bridges this gap, and in him God and humanity are reconciled.

What you should read:
  • Gravity and Grace
  • Oppression and Liberty
Ratings:
(To read more about my Theologian Rating System, click HERE)
Gender Equality:
Simone Weil pursued academic, activist, and even military life. The fact that she was a woman did not hinder her from doing what she wanted and fighting for what she believed in.
Environmental Sensibility:
With her emphasis on revolution and class equality, I think Weil had some sense of care for the environment. However, her belief in an inherently "evil" (or, separate from God) creation may imply something different.
Heretical Tendencies: 
Simone Weil has been accused of being an antisemitic Marcionite due to her basic rejection of the Hebrew Bible. Additionally, her creation theology is not exactly orthodox, and her ecclesiology was definitely lacking.
General Badassery: 
From fighting in the Spanish American War, to her various involvements with Marxists, anarchists, and other political activists, as well as teaching and writing, Simone Weil was always up to something and accomplished much in  her short 34 years.

"The mysteries of faith are degraded if they are made into an object of affirmation and negation, when in reality they should be an object of contemplation."