Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Dr. Gérard Vallée
Our purpose in this study is to show that the absence of God in this world, or the non-intervention of God in this world, is the idea par excellence which is at the heart of Simone Weil's thinking about man's situation in this world. To be very specific, our purpose in this study is to understand the significance of Weil's thinking about the idea of the absence of God in the context of thinking with truth at the same time about the affliction of men, the perfection of God, and the link between the two; or, to express the same thing in different terms, our purpose is to understand the significance of Weil's thinking about the idea of the absence of good in the context of thinking with truth at the same time about necessity, necessity's indifference to the good, and how necessity and the good can be reconciled.
What this means, in effect, is that our entire study of Weil is essentially an explication of the relationship that she sees as existing between the question of necessity and Christ's cry of dereliction on the Cross. Not only is Weil's thinking about the idea of the absence of God completely unintelligible apart from a comprehensive understanding of her thinking about necessity, but further, her thinking about necessity is ultimately unintelligible apart from her thinking about Christ's cry of dereliction. More importantly, Christ's cry of dereliction is for Weil the most consummate expression of the absence of God; it expresses the 'absence of God from God', and what this means, as our study will endeavour to show, is that the idea of the absence of God cannot be thought without at the same time thinking the idea of the presence of God. In other words, the idea of the absence of God cannot be thought without at the same time thinking the idea of incarnation. To attempt to understand what Weil is saying about the idea of incarnation, especially in relationship to her thinking about the question of necessity, is to attempt to understand an aspect of Weil's thought which has neither been dealt with in any detail nor analyzed in any depth. To attempt to understand what Weil is saying in this context is, finally, to attempt to understand what she means in thinking that the absence of God in this world is the reality of God, that this world, in so far as it is entirely empty of God, is God Himself, and finally, that necessity, in so far as it is absolutely other than the good, is the good itself.
Sheppard, Wayne Roderick, "The Idea of the Absence of God in Simone Weil" (1982). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1619.