WEIL, SIMONE (1909–1943), French philosopher. Simone Weil was one of those rare thinkers whose life and thought were inseparable. Born into an upper-class Paris family (her brother was André weil ), she lived most of her adult life in circumstances of physical deprivation. In 1934, wishing to share the experiences of the poor, she gave up teaching philosophy to become a factory worker. The fruit of this experience was La Condition Ouvrière, published posthumously in 1951. In 1936 she joined the Republicans in the Civil War in Spain, and in 1940, after the Nazi invasion, she worked as a farm laborer in southern France. In 1942, she left the U.S., where she had immigrated with her family, intending to return to France and join the Resistance. She never got further than England where, weakened by the hardships of her earlier life, she permitted herself to die of starvation. Most of Simone Weil's writings, published posthumously, consist of fragments from her notebooks, letters, articles, and memoranda, and can perhaps best be regarded as the testimony of a life of relentless dedication to the search for absolute truth and social justice. She was a mystic in the tradition of the 14th-century German theologians Meister Eckhart and St. John of the Cross, both of whom influenced her thought. Although she never actually converted to Catholicism, she experienced a mystical encounter with Jesus in 1938. Her main reason for not converting was that she found it impossible to accept the unchristian historical role of the Church. On the other hand, her attitude towards Judaism was one of total and blinding rejection. She considered it a racial, nationalistic, and cruel religion, and attributed all the evil in Christianity, such as the Inquisition and the killing of heretics, to its Jewish sources. Published selections of her writings include: Cahiers (3 vols., 1951–56; Notebooks, 2 vols., 1956); La pesanteur et la grâce (1946; Gravity and Grace, 1952); L'Enracinement (1949; The Need for Roots, 1952); Attente de Dieu (1950; Waiting on God, 1951); and Lettre à un religieux (1951; Letter to a Priest, 1953). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Cabaud, Simone Weil (Eng., 1964); R. Rees, Simone Weil; a Sketch for a Portrait (1966); G. Kempfer, La Philosophie mystique de Simone Weil (1960); I.R. Malan, L' Enracinement de Simone Weil (1961). (Myriam M. Malinovich)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Weil,Simone — Weil, Simone. 1909 1943. French philosopher and mystic who viewed suffering as a means of unity with God. Her works include Waiting for God, published posthumously. * * * …   Universalium

  • Weil, Simone — born Feb. 3, 1909, Paris, France died Aug. 24, 1943, Ashford, Kent, Eng. French mystic and social philosopher. After graduating from the École Normale Supérieure, she taught philosophy in several girls schools from 1931 to 1938. To learn the… …   Universalium

  • Weil, Simone — (1909–43)    Philosopher.    Weil was born in Paris to a non religious Jewish family. After she graduated from university, she served on the republican side in the Spanish Civil War and she also worked as a manual worker in an attempt to identify …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Weil, Simone — (1909–1943) French mystic. Weil published only articles, and no definitive interpretation of her thought exists. She lived a life of dedicated deprivation, and eventually starved herself to death as a kind of symbolic participation in Jewish… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Weil, Simone — (1909 1943)    philosopher, writer    Born and educated in Paris, simone Weil, whose writings would influence French and British social thought, in 1934 worked at the Renault plant, then taught secondary school while becoming a social activist.… …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Weil, Simone — (1909–43)    French philosopher. Weil grew up in an agnostic household and was educated at the Lycee Henri IV and the école Normale Superieure. As a young woman she was involved in left wing politics, but became increasingly critical of the… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Weil, Simone — (1909 43)    French religious writer. She was born in Paris. She gave up teaching philosophy to become a factory worker. In 1936 she joined the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. After the Nazi invasion of France she worked as a farm labourer… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Weil, Simone — ► (1909 43) Escritora francesa. Toda su vida estuvo presidida por una preocupación ética de base religioso mística. Criticó sin paliativos la relación entre jerarquía eclesiástica y poderes burgueses establecidos. Escribió diversos ensayos que… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Weil, Simone —  (1909–1943) French philosopher; pronounced vay …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • WEIL, Simone — (1909 1943)    French JEWISH MYSTIC and philosopher. She was a CONVERT to a FORM of PLATONIC CHRISTIANITY who declined BAPTISM and maintained a distance from the CHURCH. Her books include The Need for Roots (1949) and On Science, Necessity and… …   Concise dictionary of Religion