Tyrone GrimaCorresponding authorORCID id

To personalise or not to personalise
Simone Weil's struggle in her understanding of God

25/1 – Spring 2020, pages 37-52
Date of online publication: 25 June 2020
Date of publication: 25 June 2020


This paper focuses on the theology of the philosopher Simone Weil, analysing the inherent struggle between the notion of the impersonal and the personal God, strongly present in her writings. The first part of the paper focuses on Weil’s point de d.part, in which she maintained that the relationship between humanity and God should not be a personal one. This premise is rooted in Weil’s apophatic spirituality. It proceeds by giving an analysis of the dynamics in the notion of the impersonal God, juxtaposing it against the mystical experiences of Simone Weil herself. Weil’s spiritual journey led her to integrating the two polarities. The second part of the paper focuses on an integrative model that can be derived from Weil’s writings through her “spirituality of contradiction.” In the face of the struggle, Weil believed in the importance of staying in the uncomfortable space of the unknown, without rejecting either polarity. The paper concludes by demonstrating the relevance of this integrative model to contemporary society as a vehicle of integrity in the path towards wholeness.

Cite this article

Grima, Tyrone. “To Personalise or not to Personalise: Simone Weil’s Struggle in her Understanding of God.” Forum Philosophicum 25, no. 1 (2020): 37–52. doi:10.35765/forphil.2020.2501.3.


1962. The Bhagavad Gita. Translated by Juan Mascar.. London: Penguin.Allen, Diogenes, and Eric O. Springsted. 1994. Spirit, Nature, and Community: Issues in the Thought of Simone Weil. Albany: State University of New York Press.Breton, Stanislas. 2011. La Passion du Christ et les Philosophes. Paris: Cerf.Buber, Martin. 2004. I and Thou. London: Continuum.Cabaud, Jacques. 1964. Simone Weil: A Fellowship in Love. London: Harvill.Canciani, Domenico. 2000. L’Intelligence et l’Amour: R.flexion religieuse et exp.rience mystique chez Simone Weil. Paris: Beauchesne.Davy, Marie-Magdeleine. 1954. Introduction au Message de Simone Weil. Paris: Libraire Plon.Di Nicola, Giulia P., and Attilio Danese. 2002. Abissi e vette: Percorsi spirituali e mistici in Simone Weil. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.—. 2014. “Personne et impersonnel chez Simone Weil.” In Simone Weil, edited by Emmanuel Gabellieri and Fran.ois L’Yvonnet, 258–63. Paris: L’Herne.Gabellieri, Emmanuel. 2003. .tre et Don. Simone Weil et la Philosophie. Louvain: Editions Peeters.—. 2019. “Le donn. et le myst.re. Notes sur ph.nom.nologie, m.taphysique et r.v.lation chez S. Weil.” Archives de Philosophie 72 (4): 627–44. https://doi.org/10.3917/aphi.724.0627.Grima, Tyrone. 2018. “The Dialectical Tension between Detachment and the Relational in the Life and Writings of Simone Weil (1909-1943).” PhD diss., University of Malta.Janiaud, Jo.l. 2011. “Simone Weil et le d.racinement du moi.” In Lectures Politiques, edited by Val.rie G.rard, 35–52. Paris: Editions Rue d’Ulm.Jersak, Bradley. 2015. From the Cave to the Cross: The cruciform theology of George Grant and Simone Weil. Abbotsford, BC: St. Macrina Press.Kempfner, Gaston. 1960. La Philosophie Mystique de Simone Weil. Paris: La Colombe.Lowtoo, Bharatee. 2009. “Love for God’s Necessity: the ambiguity of Simone Weil’s hupmone.” PhD diss., University of van Tilburg.McCullough, Lissa. 2014. The Religious Philosophy of Simone Weil: An Introduction. London: I.B. Tauris.Pachet, Pierre. 2011. “L’.criture de Simone Weil dans ‘L’amour de Dieu et le malheur.’ D.ploiement de la phrase et approndissement de la pens.e. Seconde lecture.” In Lectures Politiques, edited by Val.rie G.rard, 59–70. Paris: Editions Rue d’Ulm.Perrin, Joseph-Marie, and Gustave Thibon. 2003. Simone Weil: As we knew her. New York: Routledge.P.trement, Simone. 1973. La Vie de Simone Weil. Paris: Fayard.Rozelle-Stone, A. Rebecca, and Lucian Stone. 2013. Simone Weil and Theology. London: Bloomsbury.Underhill, Evelyn. 2002. Mysticism. New York: Dover Publications.Vet., Miklos. 1994. The Religious Metaphysics of Simone Weil. New York: State University of New York Press.Weil, Simone. 1966. Attente de Dieu. Paris: Fayard.—. 1988. OEuvres Compl.tes: Premiers .crits Philosophiques. Vol. 1. Paris: Gallimard.—. 1997. OEuvres Compl.tes: Cahiers. Vol. 2, (septembre 1941 – f.vrier 1942): La Science et l’Impensable. Vol. 6. Paris: Gallimard.—. 2002. OEuvres Compl.tes: Cahiers. Vol. 3, La Porte du Transcendant (f.vrier 1942 – juin 1942). Vol. 6. Paris: Gallimard.—. 2006. OEuvres Compl.tes: Cahiers. Vol. 4, La Connaissance Surnaturelle – Cahiers de New York et de Londres (juillet 1942 – juillet 1943). Vol. 6. Paris: Gallimard.—. 2008. OEuvres Compl.tes: .crits de Marseille. Vol. 1, Philosophie, science, religion, questions politiques et sociales. Vol. 4. Paris: Gallimard.—. 2009. OEuvres Compl.tes: .crits de Marseille. Vol. 2, Gr.ce-Inde-Occitanie. Vol. 4. Paris: Gallimard.—. 2013. OEuvres Compl.tes: .crits de New York et de Londres. Vol. 2, L’Enracinement. Vol. 5. Paris: Gallimard.—. 2019. OEuvres Compl.tes: .crits de New York et de Londres. Vol. 1, Questions Politiques et Religieuses. Vol. 5. Paris: Gallimard.