Finite and Eternal Being: An Attempt at an Ascent to the Meaning of Being (Stein, Edith//the Collected Works of Edith Stein)

This volume bears the imprint of the ordinary intellectual and spiritual journey of its writer, one of the vital remarkable women of the twentieth century. Born in Breslau, Germany into a practicing Jewish circle of relatives in 1891, Edith Stein abandoned her faith as a teenager and later became a key figure some of the early disciples of Edmund Husserl, the founder of phenomenology. In 1921, she underwent a profound conversion and was once baptized into the Catholic church. As a prominent German Catholic laywoman, she continue her teaching, writing, and promotion of women’s rights, and began directing her attention toward a deeper encounter between the phenomenolgy she had helped to develop and the modern scholastic tradition of the church she had embraced. In 1933 she left the academic milieu and entered the Carmelite Monastery of Cologne. Yet, encouragd by her religious superiors, she soon took up her intellectual labors again, thoroughly recasting an earlier essay on Potency and Act to produce the present text, which remained unpublished at the time of her death in 1942 by the hands of the Nazis. Finite and Eternal Being is Edith Stein’s master work, the culmination of her lifelong search for truth in all its philosophical, psychological, and spiritual dimensions. With her careful step by step analysis, she gradually shows how the being of all finite existents (especially the human I) finds its ultimate ground and destiny in the eternal Divine Being, the Author whose trinitarian nature is reflected all through creation.

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