The 'void' in Simone Weil and the 'broken middle' in Gillian Rose : the genesis of the search for salvation
This thesis aims to examine the respective ways in which Simone Weil and Gillian
Rose assessth e human condition as the conflict and tension of human life. The use of
the notion of `contradiction' represents conflict. Employed by both women,
`contradiction' will be explored through their assessmentso f the human condition.
With their respective uses of this notion, Weil's and Rose's assessmentsd evelop into
a wider field of application using very specific, conceptual precepts: the `void' by
Weil and the `broken middle' by Rose. The essential constructive claim is that each of
these conceptualities can properly be viewed as attempts to explore what shall be
referred to as the genesis of the search for salvation; the attempt, that is, to elucidate
through both women the possibility of negotiating in and with `contradiction' towards
a sense of inner-transformation. This claim is supported by their illumination of what
it means to live with, in and through contradiction in the world in relation with God.
Given that Weil and Rose identified with Gnosticism, neo-gnostic soteriology, which
draws the human condition into a fulfilled sense of self-realisation about the divine,
will be used to test these claims made by both women. Despite the fact that they have
each attracted significant academic interest over the years, this is the first work to
bring these two thinkers into relation with each other.
This thesis is divided into four distinct parts. Part I identifies the wider
philosophical, existential and theological issues at play. Part II explores Weil's
relation to and use of the concept of the `void' (that acts as an intermediary between
the human and divine) both impersonally and personally in order to uncover her
perception of the human situation in relation to God. In turn, Part III explores Rose's
personal and intellectual vocation. More importantly, Rose's `broken middle' will be
explored, which broadly speaking, addressesth e difficulty and tension (contradiction)
of the middle between the universal and the particular. Part IV places the respective
accounts of the human condition and contradiction in Weil's `void' and Rose's
`broken middle' in explicit conversation with each other in order to establish and
elucidate what they each separately and together suggest about the genesis of the
search for salvation.