About the Simone Weil course
Modern Mystics on Mondays
We often think that mysticism is a thing of the past, that the great mystics like Francis of Assisi, Julian of Norwich or Teresa of Avila are resigned to times long gone, and that mysticism died in the Reformations, the Enlightenment, or the Quietist Controversy. However, there are important mystical elements of all major world religions today including Christianity, and many 20th- and 21st-century figures exemplify mysticism.
This series looks at three prominent figures who have been described as modern or postmodern mystics: Thomas Merton, Evelyn Underhill and Simone Weil.
Each session is led by an expert on the figure discussed and will comprise of a 55-minute lecture, a 25-minute discussion of a set text (sent out two weeks prior to the session), and a 25-minute question and answer session.‘To think on God, to love God, is nothing else than a certain way of thinking on the world’. In some respects, this one sentence is a crystallisation of everything that Weil wrote about God. The thought of God is somehow inseparable from a new mode of attention to and valuation of things ‘here below’; that is, from ‘a certain way of thinking’.
This third session will introduce Simone Weil as a complex and idiosyncratic figure, and explore the philosophical nature of her mysticism, as well as the mystical nature of her philosophy. We will look at a few of essays and letters, including two of her short essays on the love of God, and some of her final writings on justice, and we will see how some of her key philosophical concepts, like ‘consent to necessity’ are connected to her mystical experiences. In the process we will raise some important questions for anyone who wants to incorporate her into, or appropriate her thought for, Christian theology and spirituality.
About the Tutor
Stuart Jesson is Theology Lead at London Jesuit Centre. He was Lecturer in Religion, Philosophy and Ethics at York St John University for almost a decade, before he began his current post in 2021. He graduated with a degree in Literature and Theology from the University of Hull in 2000, and then from 2003-9 he studied Philosophical Theology part-time at the University of Nottingham, while working in the third sector with vulnerably-housed or homeless people, and young asylum seekers.