Simone Weil: Portrait of a Self-Exiled Jew

Thomas R. Nevin, Author
Thomas R. Nevin, Author University of North Carolina Press $40 (508p) ISBN 978-0-8078-1999-9
Reviewed on: 12/02/1991
Release date: 12/01/1991
French philosopher-mystic Simone Weil (1909-1943) was born to an Alsatian father and a Russian mother, both Jewish. After an intense conversion experience in 1938, she rejected her Jewishness and embraced her own version of Roman Catholicism, though she never joined the Church. To Nevin ( Irving Babbitt ), emulating Weil as a saint or a religious guide would be a ``disastrous'' mistake. He interprets her aid to Spanish anarchists, to the unemployed and the oppressed as expressions of her role as a tzeddik , the traditional Jewish ``just person.'' In Weil's passionate wrestling with God and her quest for a special convenant with Him, she also manifests her Jewishness, argues Nevin. This thoughtful, scholarly study draws on Weil's unpublished archival writings, some translated here for the first time. (Dec.)
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