Edith Stein, my inspiration

Edith Stein Inspiration

“My primary interest was acquiring knowledge.”

Why Edith Stein

I love knowledge and wisdom. That’s why I love Edith Stein and her magnificent mind. That’s what this initiative is all about. Inspiring others to love knowledge and wisdom through the influence of Edith Stein.

Note that “loving” knowledge and wisdom does not mean that we are claiming to be knowledgable or wise! A third grader can “love” knowledge and wisdom, as can an adult with a third grade education. *Everyone* can and should love knowledge and wisdom. They should desire to seek them.

In fact, God so desires that we seek knowledge and wisdom he established them as two of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit! God desires to give them to us.

All we need to pursue them is to love them. How well we actually understand, or how wise we actually are, these are secondary to our desire to pursue them.

My hope is that Edith Stein will inspire others in a time when we so badly need her thirst for truth.

Phil Magdalena, site administrator


My Edith Stein Mission

My Edith Stein mission is to inspire in others a love for knowledge and wisdom through the influence of Edith Stein.

From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Edith Stein (1891–1942) was a realist phenomenologist associated with the Göttingen school and later a Christian metaphysician. She was a Jew who converted to Catholicism in 1922 and was ordained a Carmelite nun in 1933. She died in Auschwitz in 1942. She was subsequently declared a Catholic martyr and saint. 

Stein is known philosophically primarily for her phenomenological work on empathy and affectivity, her contributions as research assistant to Edmund Husserl, and her philosophical anthropology. She was in discussion with leading philosophers of her day, including Husserl, Scheler, Heidegger, Conrad-Martius, Ingarden, and Maritain. 

Her work contains original approaches to empathy, embodiment, the emotions, personhood, collective intentionality, and the nature of the state.

In her later work, Stein developed an original philosophy of being and essence that integrated Husserlian phenomenology and Thomist metaphysics.

Edith Stein

Edith Stein on the philosophical journey

“Such is the dilemma of all human philosophizing: truth is but one, yet for us it falls into truths (plural) that we must master step by step. At some point we must plunge in to discover a greater expanse; yet when this broader horizon does appear, a new depth will open up at our point of entry.”

~ Edith Stein. Potency and Act (The Collected Works of Edith Stein) (Kindle Locations 439-441). Kindle Edition.

Edith Stein’s philosophical method

“Philosophical understanding is different. The philosopher must not only be able to see and show the fact that someone else went about it in such and such a way; his insight must not only extend to the connections between the other’s grounds [Grund] and consequences. The philosopher must also grasp why his predecessor went about it like this. He must get down into the grounds themselves and grasp them. And this means that the grounds must grip him and best him in the sense that he decides to accept them and retraces within himself the path the other followed from grounds to conclusions, perhaps even going beyond him. Or else he must best the grounds; I mean, he must decide to get free of them and take another path.”

~ Edith Stein. Potency and Act (The Collected Works of Edith Stein) (Kindle Locations 425-429). Kindle Edition.

Edith Stein’s ontology

“Therefore for minds that depend on the intuition of concrete individuals as the starting ing point of their knowledge, these are the progressive stages: individual, concrete intuition, ideation, and from ideation variation and generalization (either or both). We may also formalize at any stage, and starting from the empty form, we may reach the forms connected with it in a formal procedure.”

~ Edith Stein. Potency and Act (The Collected Works of Edith Stein) (Kindle Locations 1286-1288). Kindle Edition.

Edith Stein’s philosophical understanding of spirituality

“There is something over there – what is it?” ~ Edith Stein. Potency and Act

“I am traveling in a mountainous region unfamiliar to me. Some time before I arrive at my destination something appears on the horizon. At first I cannot tell what it is, whether it is a cloud or a mountain peak. Soon sharply defined contours take shape; it is the mountain, and my journey’s end lies at its foot. During my stay I learn more and more about the mountain. On my walks I come to see it from all sides; its form and color reveal themselves in all their different aspects. I learn what sorts of rock it is made of, what kind of forest covers it, what flowers grow on its slopes. From the summit I look out in all directions and from other places. When the time comes to leave, the mountain has become familiar and dear to me, and later whenever I hear its name it is as if I am reminded of an old friend.

My initial contact was quite simple: I notice a change in my field of vision. There is something over there! What is it? There is an interplay of the outer and the inner. Something outside -the change or something new appearing- stirs me inwardly and sets me in motion.”

~ Edith Stein. Potency and Act (The Collected Works of Edith Stein) (Kindle Locations 1855-1861). Kindle Edition.

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