Summer/Autumn/Winter 2002, Vol. XXVII, No. 2, 3, 4
In recent years, Pope John Paul II has made a particular effort to call attention to the work and life of Edith Stein: canonizing her as St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, naming her co-patroness of Europe, and making explicit mention of her in his encyclical Fides et Ratio. the details of her life are well-known: born to a Jewish family, she became an atheist, studied under Edmund Husserl, and made original contributions to phenomenology in her writings about empathy, the individual, and the state. In 1922, Stein was baptized into the Catholic Church, and in 1942, she was murdered at Auschwitz. Her philosophical work after her baptism takes on a quite different character from her early phenomenological writing. Her early work followed the descriptive phenomenological method closely, and was constructed from her own observation and reflection. Her later work comes out of the context of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas, and attempts to integrate the best ideas of these authorities with the phenomenology in which she was schooled, as well as with the new faith into which she had entered.