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Edith Stein based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
In 1998, Pope John Paul II declared convert from Judaism Edith Stein (1891 - 1942) a martyr for Christ and a saint. Many Jews were offended. They thought that Hitler's Nazis had seized Stein and her sister Rosa from a Carmelite convent in Echt, Netherlands, and gassed them at Auschwitz simply because they were Jews, period. Catholics responded that all baptized Jews in the Netherlands were rounded up by the Gestapo a week after every Catholic pulpit in the Kingdom had denounced anti-Semitism. *** Waltraud Herbstrith's invaluable EDITH STEIN: A BIOGRAPHY was written in German in 1971. A later edition was translated into very readable English in 1985. At that time neither author nor translator knew that canonization was in the works. Pope John Paul II, a former professor of philosophy in Poland, honored her only years later. Thus Herbstrith's text is not overpowered by the later public controversies that followed canonization. In Herbstrith's biography, Edith Stein was many things, but not a canonized Christian saint. *** Edith Stein was born in 1891 in the German Silesian city of Breslau (now in Poland). She was the youngest of eleven children (four died young) of an economically successful orthodox Jewish family. In her teens, Edith Stein stopped praying and believing in the God of Abraham. Stein recounts her life at length in readily available LIFE IN A JEWISH FAMILY: 1891 - 1916. Edith kept her atheism to herself and continued (as apparently not all her siblings did) to accompany her mother to synagogue. *** Edith Stein was a brilliant student, linguist, translator from English and Latin into German. In 1916, after time out as a volunteer nurse at an army hospital, she took a PhD at the University of Freiburg. Her dissertation, now readily available in English translation, was ON THE PROBLEM OF EMPATHY. *** Her university years were happy. She smoked. She danced. She found the man she thought that she would marry. During her university years, Stein moved slowly away from atheism. Baptized Catholic in 1922, Stein spent the next eleven years as a Catholic lay woman and recognized intellectual much in demand as a speaker for women's rights, including the right to live a professional life. When in Breslau, she joined her mother in worshipping in synagogue. *** In 1933 Edith Stein became a nun. Her philsophical writing were bold. Her grasp of spirituality grew intense. She rejoiced in being united to Christ both as a disciple and as a fellow Jew. -OOO-.
This is a wonderful book. I read it and decided to use it for teaching religion to 11th graders in CCD. I also am trying to understand her biography and it is as complex as can be as she is both a saint and a major modern philospher! She was the real thing in epistomology and Catholicism: and she developed from the first woman professor of philosophy in Germany to a Carmelite Nun to an important saint lost in the camps. The last pope, as reflected in his autobiography, had a good sense of how she fit in: she was the thinker for a poet like him for that life they endured in Europe in the 30s and 40s. I would stongly rcommend this to the general reader or teacher of Modern European History or Religion. I wondered at times whether she was a prophet.