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Simone Weil

The present book reflects on the life, work, and legacy of an exceptional and enigmatic woman: the philosopher and French Jewish mystic Simone Weil. 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 World War II, 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, 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. ""Following her pointed observation that 'witnesses are fountains from which theology springs forth, ' 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 ""The always fascinating enigma of Weil and the wellspring for social justice represented by Brazil's most spiritually creative theologian of liberation come together in this superbly translated theological biography . . . [A] highly compelling meditation on the fragility and necessity of intellectual work in the face of the suffering of the marginalized."" --Peter Casarella, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Notre Dame ""The voice of Simone Weil--a key figure of the French philosophy of the twentieth century--is given to us to listen to by Bingemer. With skill and clarity she brings us into a thought without concessions, rooted in Christ (without entering into the Catholic Church), and committed to the insignificant people of our world. A good resource for contemporary researchers. 'A paradoxical testimony!'"" --Thierry-Marie Courau, Dean of Theologicum, Institut Catholique de Paris ""Only a scholar who has passionately journeyed with Simone Weil over a lifetime could have produced this book. By any measure what Bingemer offers is exceptional. The beauty of Weil's intellect, heart, and life come alive in Bingemer's hands. This elegantly written book presents an intimate, compelling portrait of Weil that invites readers to consider how we too might give witness to the light intellectually and compassionately."" --Nancy Pineda-Madrid, Associate Professor of Theology & U.S. Latino/a Ministry Boston College School of Theology and Ministry Maria Clara Bingemer is Full Professor of Systematic Theology at the Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is the author of A Face for God (2014), among other books. She has written many books and articles on Simone Weil's thought, including the essay ""Affliction and Option for the Poor: Simone Weil and Latin American Liberation Theology"" (in R. Rozelle and L. Stone, eds., The Relevance of the Radical).
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