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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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Inviting Edith Stein into the ‘French Debate’

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← 434 | 435 →KATHLEEN HANEY

ABSTRACT: Phenomenology, according to Edith Stein, is her ‘philosophical mother-tongue.’ Her post-conversion interests focus ever more pointedly on theological explorations. With these thoughts in mind, this study brings Stein into the so-called ‘French Debate’ concerning a ‘theological turn’ in phenomenology. Stein shared an attraction to negative theology which thinkers such as Jacques Derrida, Paul Ricoeur, Emmanuel Levinas, Michel Henry, and Jean-Luc Marion later developed. Despite their shared influences, Stein provides alternatives to the direction that the ‘new phenomenologists’ advance that not only follows the phenomenological method more rigorously, but also advocates a more orthodox version of Christianity. She embraces insights provided by the Greeks, Husserl and Dionysius the Aeropagite as well as the Carmelite mystics, and, importantly, the Scholastics. Although Heidegger greatly influenced the evolution of the thought of many phenomenologists who debate the theological turn, Stein speaks to its problematics more directly.

Talk about a ‘theological turn’ in Edith Stein’s phenomenology must be anachronistic. Stein wrote at least two generations before the ‘new phenomenologists.’ Yet, she provides an alternative to the direction that they advance, one that follows phenomenological method more rigorously, while nonetheless embracing insights provided by the Scholastics as well as Dionysius the Aeropagite. We can use both Husserl and Heidegger to trace a pathway back to the basic questions that Stein shares with Jean-Luc Marion, Jacques Derrida, Paul Ricoeur, Emmanuel Levinas, Michel Henry, Stanislas Breton, Dominique Janicaud and Jean-Louis Chretien among other philosophers in the phenomenological tradition. Stein...

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