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Intersubjectivity, Humanity, Being

Edith Stein’s Phenomenology and Christian Philosophy

Edited By Mette Lebech and John Haydn Gurmin

This volume brings together revised versions of papers presented at the inaugural conference of the International Association for the Study of the Philosophy of Edith Stein (IASPES). The conference papers are supplemented by a number of specially commissioned essays in order to provide a representative sample of the best research currently being carried out on Stein’s philosophy in the English speaking world. The first part of the volume centres on Stein’s phenomenology; the second part looks at her Christian philosophy; and the third part explores the contexts of her philosophical work.
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The Blinking Eye/I: Edith Stein as Philosopher and Autobiographer

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← 20 | 21 →JOYCE AVRECH BERKMAN

ABSTRACT: A comparison of Edith Stein’s philosophical treatises with her two autobiographies offers multiple points of consonance, dissonance and interconnection. Considering autobiographical writing highly different from philosophy, she did not eye her autobiographical works with like scrutiny, thereby exposing discordant facets of her thought. This essay undertakes two comparisons: Applying historical analysis and autobiography theory, it examines Stein’s explanations of her decision to write autobiographies and her decision to enter the Carmelite cloister at Cologne, Germany in relation to her philosophical views on decision-making; and it explores Stein’s presentations, as autobiographer and as philosopher, of individuality and human ‘type’.

Between scholarship on Edith Stein’s philosophical and theological works and on her first person narratives and reflections, an unsettling gap persists. Biographers, for instance, offer limited exploration of her philosophical treatises. They aim their biographies at a broad reading public, who they assume are intrigued by Stein’s life and have limited training and interest in Stein’s complex phenomenology. Scholars of Stein’s philosophy, on the other hand, are generally unfamiliar with the literary and theoretical foundations of analyzing autobiographies and assume autobiography a genre independent of and irrelevant to that of philosophy. Perhaps they also fear subverting the objective and impersonal content of Stein’s philosophical ideas through an incorporation of her personal experience.

This essay challenges the genre gap and explores the consonance, dissonance and interconnections between Stein’s autobiographies and her philosophical works. Stein’s Life in a Jewish Family, An Autobiography...

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