Simone Weils Apologetic Use of Literature: Her Christological Interpretation of Classic Greek Texts

Hardcover | December 16, 2007

byMarie Cabaud Meaney

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Marie Cabaud Meaney looks at Simone Weil's Christological interpretations of the Sophoclean Antigone and Electra, the Iliad and Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound. Apart from her article on the Iliad, Weil's interpretations are not widely known, probably because they are fragmentary and boldly twistthe classics, sometimes even contradicting their literal meaning. Meaney argues that Weil had an apologetic purpose in mind: to the spiritual ills of ideology and fanaticism in World War II she wanted to give a spiritual answer, namely the re-Christianization of Europe to which she (though notbaptized herself) wished to contribute in some way. To the intellectual agnostics of her day she intended to show through her interpretations that the texts they cherished so much could only be fully understood in light of Christ; to the Catholics she sought to reveal that Catholicism was much moreuniversal than generally believed, since Greek culture already embodied the Christian spirit - perhaps to a greater extent than the Catholic Church ever had. Despite or perhaps because of this apologetic slant, Weil's readings uncover new layers of these familiar texts: Antigone is a Christologicalfigure, combating Creon's ideology of the State by a folly of love that leads her to a Passion in which she experiences an abandonment similar to that of Christ on the Cross. The Iliad depicts a world as yet unredeemed, but which traces objectively the reign of force to which both oppressors andoppressed are subject. Prometheus Bound becomes the vehicle of her theodicy, in which she shows that suffering only makes sense in light of the Cross. But the pinnacle of the spiritual life is described in Electra which, she believes, reflects a mystical experience - something Weil herself hadexperienced unexpectedly when 'Christ himself came down and took her' in November 1938. In order to do justice to Weil's readings, Meaney not only traces her apologetic intentions and explains the manner in which she recasts familiar Christian concepts (thereby letting them come alive - somethingevery good apologist should be able to do), but also situates them among standard approaches used by classicists today, thereby showing that her interpretations truly contribute something new.

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Marie Cabaud Meaney looks at Simone Weil's Christological interpretations of the Sophoclean Antigone and Electra, the Iliad and Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound. Apart from her article on the Iliad, Weil's interpretations are not widely known, probably because they are fragmentary and boldly twistthe classics, sometimes even contradicting t...

Marie Cabaud is Arthur Ennis Teaching Fellow at Villanova University, Philadelphia.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.71 inPublished:December 16, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199212457

ISBN - 13:9780199212453

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Table of Contents

1. Simone Weil and the Classics2. Simone Weil and Apologetics3. Simone Weil as Apologist4. iAntigone/i and the Moral Law: Glimpses of the Supernatural5. iTableau de l'absence de Dieu/i - a Modern Interpretation of the iIliad/i6. iPrometheus Bound/i: An Apologetics of the Cross7. iElectra/i - Waiting on God8. Conclusion: Simone Weil - An Apologist of the Supernatural