Summer/Autumn/Winter 2002, Vol. XXVII, No. 2, 3, 4

To continue reading, download the PDF here.


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.

It is this post-baptismal work that the pope has explicitly held up as a model of Christian philosophy.1 Stein’s later philosophical writings, beginning with her contribution to the Festschrift for Husserl’s seventieth birthday2 up to her final primarily philosophical book, Endliches and Ewiges Sein, are an attempt to construct a Christian philosophy. Stein argues that philosophy must be completed by faith in order to be true to its mission, and constructs an ontology that attempts to ascend to the full meaning of Being.4 In the course of this ascent Stein makes free
use of the doctrines of the Catholic faith. In fact, she states5 that the task of philosophy is “to bring to harmony what it has extracted with its
particular means with what is offered by faith and theology – in the sense of an understanding of being from its ultimate foundations.”6

Stein’s vision of a philosophy that works from both faith and
reason is controversial. Lembeck considers that Stein’s late philosophy lacks the scientific rigor of her earlier work.7
Gosebrink argues that Stein
uses faith improperly as content for her philosophy, rather than as an
area of experience to be studied phenomenologically. It is a deus ex machina used to fill gaps where reason fails.8 The substance
of the complaint is that Stein uses a non-insightful
source in her philosophy; faith provides positive content
to her ontology. She would have been correct to see faith
as another aspect of human experience, to be studied
perhaps in the manner of William James, but any attempt
by Stein to derive some sort of knowledge-content from
faith is illegitimate. Much of modern philosophy is not
willing to concede any sort of scientific status to faith;
it may give assurance to the believer and be useful for
regulating conduct, but the content of its revelation is
not accessible to philosophical study. A philosophy that
depends in some way on faith would become unscientific
and therefore not philosophy, since only those who already
possess faith would be able to accept it.

One should attempt to understand a philosophy
by its own standards before it is rejected as defective.
Lembeck judges Stein’s Christian philosophy by the
standard of phenomenology, a standard that she herself
subscribed to before her conversion. (She claimed in Einführung
in die Philosophie that the phenomenological method
is the philosophical method that gives the way to the
solution of all philosophical problems.)9
Gosebrink similarly judges Stein’s philosophy according to a standard
that disallows any philosophical or scientific use of faith.
Now, if by definition science precludes any use of faith,
then the criticisms are correct, and Stein’s philosophical
work can safely be consigned to the ash heap.

But her work concerns itself with just these questions:
is there some legitimate way that philosophy can use
faith? Moreover, is the essence of philosophy itself such
that it can only find its completion through faith? Must
philosophy be exclusively phenomenological? We must
be careful not to reject an argument out of hand just because
we may not like the conclusion. The argument that
Stein makes ought to be examined on its own merits, and
her conclusions can only be rejected or accepted after we
have followed along her way. In this article, I will make a
preliminary investigation of the Christian philosophy of
Edith Stein, focusing on her understanding of the relationship
between faith and reason.

I. Faith

The basic outline of Stein’s thinking about the
relationship between philosophy and faith can be found
in her fictional dramatic dialogue between Edmund Husserl
and St. Thomas Aquinas.10 Under the direction of
Martin Heidegger, she removed the dramatic elements
for the 1929 edition of the Jahrbuch für Philosophic und
Phänomenologische Forschung. Both versions of this work
have been translated in parallel columns in the new English
edition. Unless otherwise indicated, my citations will
come from this translation. I will use Stein’s original version
(column A), not the one edited to satisfy Heidegger
(column B). The words of the character of St. Thomas
in this dialogue can be considered to be Stein’s, although
they may not say exactly what Thomas thought. (Please
note that at this point I am giving Stein’s thought. The
critical analysis comes later.)

Stein acknowledges that philosophy would indeed
be justified in excluding faith if faith were just a dim feeling
or some irrational urge. By “feeling” [Gefühl] Stein is
referring to a sensation or inkling, something like a taste
for cheesecake. The key is that such feelings are irrational.
Faith, on the contrary, has a rational structure that
can be understood by reason, if it cannot be originally
derived through or comprehended by the intellect. Although
Stein does not speak in terms of affectivity as a
third element aside the intellect and the will, her thought
on the idea of faith as “feeling” cannot be construed as
an attack on the validity of the affective dimension of
cognition; surely faith is at least an appeal to the heart. At
issue is the whether faith is like an appetite for food that
may have no rational basis. Faith gives something intelligible,
if not completely comprehensible. Through faith
the believer comes to know things otherwise inaccessible
to him or her. Thus the Christian knows, for example,
that God is a trinity, that one person of the trinity was
incarnated as human, and that there is a bodily resurrection.

Something must be said here about my choice of
terms. I am using “know” to refer to what Stein thinks
faith gives to the believer: we know that there is a God,
a heaven, and a resurrection if we have the gift of faith.
The common usage in English, however, is to say “I have
faith, and so I believe there is a God, a heaven, and a resurrection.”
I have chosen to use the word “knowledge” for
what faith provides the faithful since, according to Stein,
faith does not provide mere belief. “On the contrary,”
says Stein, “faith is a way to truth.”11 Faith provides intellectual
content that is more certain than any knowledge
from other sources, because faith is guaranteed by God.
Faith gives knowledge in the customary English sense of
providing the believer with something certain and true.
What it does not do is give us insight into the content of faith: “the certainty of faith lacks the obviousness of insight
[uneinsichtig].”12 So the word “belief ”cannot be used,
since belief can be true or false, but faith as content is always true.

Stein herself uses several different words to refer
to the type of cognition that faith gives us. In the dialogue
between Husserl and Aquinas, Stein is careful to
distinguish between faith [Glaube] and knowledge [Erkenntnis].
However, she does use the word Wissen to refer to
what faith gives us: “a second way of gaining knowledge
[Wissen] alongside the natural way.”13 Finally, in another
work she does use the word Erkenntnis to refer to faith,
describing faith as love, deed, and knowledge [Erkenntnis]
at the same time.14 I will continue to use the word
“knowledge” to refer to that which faith presents us, as
it follows Stein’s meaning and usage. But it must be understood
that by knowledge is implied no corresponding insight.

Stein’s understanding of faith follows the traditional
distinction between fides quae creditur (the faith
that we believe) and fides qua credimus (the faith by means
of which we believe). Fides quae refers to the content that
the believer believes, such as the trinity or the atonement.
Fides qua refers to the virtue that allows the believer to
assent to the content of faith. According to Aquinas, humans
need the supernatural gift of faith because of our
proper end: the proper end of human life is not happiness
in this world, but rather is eternal happiness with
God. We cannot see our true end, and therefore need
guidance to achieve it, just as travelers need maps for unfamiliar
countries. One cannot reach an end about which
one has no knowledge, except perhaps by accident. Since
our end is life everlasting, we need knowledge of it.15 In
order to reach this goal, one needs a recognition of life
after death and an eternal destiny, and also the means
to achieve this destiny. Faith is a source of very real and
necessary content, not just a warm feeling about the divine.

For Stein, faith must be a true and reliable source
of knowledge, not just mere belief, for Stein, because it
has a specific function: faith leads us to eternal life with
God. It must be true in order to be worthwhile. In other
words, for the sacramental life, the atonement, the Eucharist,
and the scriptures to be effective, they must be
true. Faith is not mere belief for Stein, as in “I believe the
president,” or “I believe that the sun will come up;” it is
knowledge: “I know that my redeemer lives.” (Job 19:
25) Furthermore, this knowledge given in faith is the
most certain knowledge of all, since it is guaranteed by
God. The faithful may not have evidence, but nevertheless
are certain that the content of faith is absolutely true.
Aquinas says that faith is the most certain in the adherence
we give it, if not in the evidence we have for it.16 In
fact, despite the lack of evidence, “for the believer such
is the certainty of faith that it relativizes all other certainty,
and … he can but give up any supposed knowledge
which contradicts his faith.”17

This is a hard pill to swallow for those without
the virtue of faith. It seems to be irrational and counterintuitive,
that statements for which we have little or no
scientific evidence are given a truth-status higher than
any scientific statement. But the problem is that faith, if
it exists, is a supernatural gift of grace. Those who lack it
cannot legitimately deny its existence. Consider the case
of tone-deaf persons: music sounds like nonsense to
them. But very few would contend that music does not
really exist. Stein’s arguments only make sense if one is
prepared to concede that faith as the most certain source
of truth just might actually exist.

But how is this content guaranteed? How does
the believer know that those things proposed for belief
are true? Faith is not just content, but it is also a virtue,
a power by which we believe (fides qua credimus). By faith
as virtue, faith as content is guaranteed. The assent to
faith is so powerful that it can compel the philosopher to
search beyond what is accessible to reason alone. Stein
says that faith provides us with the impetus to go further:
“it is a forward stepping: a going beyond all conceptually
comprehensible particular knowledge therein in the
simple grasp of one truth.”18 Indeed, the conviction that
there are truths beyond natural reason shows the believer
that philosophy cannot of itself reach its status as a perfectum
opus rationis, that is, as a thorough grounding of
all knowledge.19 We need to examine how it is that faith
can do this. How is it that faith can be the most certain
source of truth?

II. Faith as Self-Guarantee

The problem of certitude has long been a preoccupation of modem philosophy. Philosophers have since
Descartes searched for an absolutely certain foundation
from which to acquire certain knowledge. For Descartes
it was the ego cogito; for Husserl, it was the transcendental
ego. Stein subjects the problem of faith to the same
question: if faith is to be a source of knowledge for the
believer, it must have some guarantee or evidence. The
answer to the question is given by St. Thomas in her dialogue:
“faith is its own guarantee.”20 The believer knows
the truth of the dogmas proposed by the Church by virtue
of his or her faith. Gosebrink complains that the idea
that faith is unquestionable is “fideistische Naivitat.”21
For faith to guarantee itself seems to be -a vicious circle,
somewhat like pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps, or
like plugging an extension cord back into itself. But it is
not so: there are two senses of faith, fides quae (the believed
truths) and fides qua (the virtue by which one believes).
Fides qua guarantees fides quae: the virtue guarantees the
knowledge. The virtue of faith is a gift granted freely by
God, and cannot be acquired on one’s own. Since it is a
gift, those who have not received the gift cannot deny the
possibility that others may receive it. But those without
faith can legitimately inquire about the structure of the
gift of faith, and what such faith could offer to philosophy,
which as philosophy should be accessible to both
believer and unbeliever alike. The tone-deaf person can,
after all, learn music theory, even if he or she will never
truly hear music.

III. Belief in a Person as the Key to Faith

What is the nature of the gift of faith? Can we
find any everyday experiences to give a phenomenological
clue to the essence of faith? Stein gives an extended
treatment of the nature of the faith act and its phenomenological
structure in a fragmentary work (apparently
prepared for lectures) from 1932: Die ontische Struktur
der Person und ihre erkenntnistheoretische Problematik. In this
work, Stein begins her analysis with an examination of
the customary uses of the word Glaube. She distinguishes
Glaube from “belief ’ (she uses the English word), which
accompanies the act of the original grasping of an object
[Erfassung] or the recollection of the same:22 I see a dog,
and believe that I have seen a dog. Belief also accompanies
logical states of affairs and conclusions drawn from
them.23 We believe both that we have seen a dog, and also
that the dog is a mammal, since all dogs are mammals.
Belief accompanies conviction; it is the attitude that I
take relative to the truth of a proposition about which I
have some insight. Belief is also used in the sense “I believe
the dog is a Malamute, but I don’t know.” It could
be otherwise; Stein calls this opinion.24 Finally there is
doxa or blind faith, which is like conviction in strength
of adherence, but which lacks insight, like opinion.25
One may be tempted to consider faith a subset of doxa,
since like blind faith it is firm of conviction and slim of
insight. But according to Stein faith is something much different.

None of these descriptions is sufficient to describe
faith, since faith is not just a moment accompanying
some other act, in the way that belief accompanies
an act of perception or judgment. Faith is itself an act.
In the act of faith are combined three aspects: cognition
[Erkenntnis], love, and deed [Tat].26 It is a cognition,
but unlike other kinds, its object is not a state of affairs,
but a person: “The object of faith is God. Fides is belief
in God.”27 [Der Gegenstand des Glaubens ist Gott. Fides
ist Glaube an Gott. Translation mine.] Now the object of
faith is not seen, which is why faith gets confused with
mere blind faith or doxa. But in the act of faith “that
which I grasp penetrates me while I grasp it; it seizes hold
of me in my personal center, and I cling to it.”28 [sondern
das, was ich erfasse, dringt, indem ich es erfasse, in mich ein; es
ergreift mich in meinem personalen Zentrum, und ich halte mich
daran Jest. Translaton mine.] The personal center or core
is a recurrent notion in Stein’s philosophy. It is the seat of
the powers of the soul and the home of freedom. Stein
describes the personal center as the mid-point of the
soul in Die Seelenburg, an appendix to Endliches und Ewiges
Sein on Theresa of Avila: it is the place where we hear
the voice of conscience, and the place of free personal
decisions. It is also the place of unification with God.29
Faith grasps us at the center of our powers, at the seat of
our free will. Faith is love: when one undertakes the act
of faith one feels love for God and feels loved by God.
It is also deed: “To grasp and hold the hand of God: this
is the deed that co-constitutes the act of faith.”30 [Gottes
Hand fassen und halten, das ist die Tat, die den Glaubensakt
mitkonstituiert. Translation mine.] So, in the act of faith,
one senses the unseen God, loves God, and undertakes
the act of conforming oneself to God. Stein describes
what happens as a result of the act of faith: “If I take
hold of the hand that touches me, then I find absolute
support and absolute security.”31 [Ergreife ich die Hand, die
mich anruhrt, dann fznde ich den absoluten Halt und die absolute Geborgenheit. Translation mine.]

Consider the difference: when I believe the Pythagorean theorem, my belief is directed towards a
state of affairs, or rather a logical proposition about the
relationship of states of affairs. That which I believe has
little effect upon me, except when I have reason to determine
the lengths of a right triangle. The theorem does
not change my life in any significant way outside of the
solving of geometry problems. But faith in God is different,
since it is faith in a person. It is analogous to the love of or belief in a person.

The usual use of the word “belief ’ is without the preposition “in” for states of affairs or truth values: “I believe the president, I believe the Pythagorean theorem.” But when it is used
of a person, there is a different phrase: “I believe in you.” This is
the same as the German “glauben
an.”32 This means that in belief
we hold on to a person, and the
other holds on to us. The spatial
metaphor refers to the mutuality
of the act. Consider the example
of falling in love: I know that my
wife loves me, and I hold on to her
in this love. I trust that she loves
me in return. I depend upon her,
I count on her steadfastness, and I invest myself in her
well-being. I cling to her and she clings back. I believe
her, but this means more than a mere belief in a statement:
I believe in her, and trust that she will remain true
to her love. This is the model for faith in God: we believe
in him, and hold on to God. It is a personal relationship,
not just a theoretical act. The believer believes in God as
a person, and trusts that God will be true to his word,
just as the husband believes in his wife and her promises.
The believer trusts in the person without any proof33 because
he or she believes in God, just as one spouse can
believe the other without proof because of the trust of
the personal relationship. The difference between acts of
faith and theoretical acts is the nature of the relationship:
impersonal and objective versus interpersonal and subjective.

But belief in a human person may be misplaced,
since it depends upon the unchangeability of that person.
One does not mean that the person should be a stone
statue, of course, but rather that the love or honor upon
which one depends may change. Persons can change, after
all. We can love images of people that do not coincide
with the people themselves. On the other hand,
faith in God is appropriate, since he is unchanging and
steadfast. In faith the Christian believer feels love for
the all-powerful and all-good God, and reaches out to
him. The believer feels that he or she has found a source
of absolute protection and security.34 Thus in the act of
faith one receives the guarantee of faith, just as in the act
of love one receives the guarantee of love. There is no
scientific proof of love, but the act of loving gives the
assurance of love. Similarly, the act of faith gives no scientific
proof, but brings the believer before the love and steadfastness of God.

Through the act of faith
the believer can assent to the content
of faith, to the dogmas proposed
for belief by the Church. It
is the most certain knowledge possible
because of the unchanging
nature of God. Faith guarantees
itself. There is no vicious circle,
since the gift of faith as virtue
guarantees the certainty of faith
as content. Stein says that “The
unique certitude of faith is a gift
of grace.”35 This is difficult for the
non-believer to accept, but these
descriptions of faith necessarily have the character of assertion
rather than argument. Faith, if it exists at all, is
a gift of grace. If I have not received the gift, I cannot
deny the possibility that someone else has, unless faith
be something like a square circle, a conceptual contradiction.
To understand Stein’s Christian philosophy, one
must assume at least the possibility of the existence of
Christianity as the true faith. It is obvious that if Christianity
is false and faith a chimera that any Christian philosophy
would be wrong. The question to consider is the
shape a Christian philosophy must have if indeed there is
such a thing as faith.

IV. From Faith to Christian Philosophy

What is a Christian to do? He or she has a source
of knowledge that appears to be beyond reason. Should
this knowledge (and it is knowledge in its certainty, if not
in its insightfulness) be kept strictly separate from philosophy
or is there a uniquely Christian way to philosophize?
Is there a possible relationship between faith and
reason? Is the relationship between faith and philosophy
merely accidental or is it based in the essence of philosophy? Stein argues that in fact there is a necessary relationship
between faith and philosophy. To begin to understand
her position we will need to examine her view
of the nature of philosophy.

Stein says that philosophy can be thought of as
“the living philosophizing and the continuous spiritual
attitude.”36 She gives two senses here: in the first sense,
Stein is referring to the actual act of philosophizing,
as one understands and judges; it is in the activity that
philosophy primarily exists. This is the rationale behind
Plato’s arguments in Letter Seven that “anyone who is
seriously studying high matters will be the last to write
about them. …”37

Philosophy as an act cannot be taught as doctrines
in a book, but can only be learned by doing. The
second sense that Stein gives for philosophy is the spiritual
disposition necessary for the philosophical act. One
must be a seeker by nature, amazed by beings, and must
be prepared to undertake the work necessary to find answers.
Consider Aristotle’s claim that philosophy begins
through wonder.38 Some humans are born philosophers,
with a constant drive to seek more foundational knowledge,
while others simply are not interested, as anyone
who has taught an introductory philosophy course will know.

But there is a third and most important sense
of philosophy: philosophy as science, a view that Stein
takes from Husserl, particularly from Logische Untersuchungen
and Philosophie als strenge Wissenschaft. Stein
defines science as “an intellectual structure, that of independent
existence in the individual thinking spirit; an inner
connectedness of defined laws of an orderly edifice
of concepts, judgments, and proofs.”39 A science has its
existence apart from any individual and its insights can
be repeated in principle by anyone. Individual human sciences
remain incomplete and fragmentary. But Stein mentions
the idea or ideal of science: “We can imagine that a
domain of things be entirely investigated. ..; that all that
has to be asserted about it in general is presented in the
form of true judgments; and that all these judgments are
placed in appropriately required links of proofs or-what
amounts to the same thing in a unity forming a`closed
theory.”40 This is what each scientist works towards; he
or she wishes to delineate completely the behavior of
every thing within the area in which he or she works. A
science seeks to make true statements about the domain in which it works.

But if science is directed towards true statements,
Stein says, we need to make clear what is meant by truth.
Stein takes over the correspondence theory of truth. A
true statement such as “the cherry tree blooms” is true
because it corresponds to a true state of affairs, the existence
of the actual blooming cherry tree. Somehow, the
human mind is capable of conforming itself to the external
state of affairs, and in knowledge makes an affirmation
about that state of affairs. Thus we find that truth
depends on Being, the Being of the state of affairs. If
the tree does not exist or is not blooming, the statement
is false. Thus we can say that “True Being is that which
all science aims at.”41,42 If philosophy is a science, it must then be concerned with Being.

What is the relationship of philosophy to science?
What sort of science is it? Stein follows Husserl’s
characterization of this relationship. Husserl saw the chaotic
situation of science at the beginning of the twentieth
century, and indeed throughout its history, as the result
of a failure to clarify the bases of true science. Husserl
took issue with the unfounded and contradictory assertion
of psychologism that logical laws are simply rules
of correct thinking that could be derived from appropriate
empirical analyses. Husserl argues that such a naturalistic
or psychologistic justification would be circular
since science presupposes logic for its procedure: “How
can experiences be mutually legitimated or corrected by
means of each other, and not merely replace each other
or confirm each other subjectively?”43 The purpose of
his epoche or bracketing is to clarify the ultimate bases of
the sciences. Husserl wanted to find a completely indubitable
standard of evidence in the realm of transcendental
consciousness. Thus the task of philosophy for Husserl
as well as for Stein is to be the science of sciences, working
for “the clarification of the basis of all science….44

For Stein, philosophy seeks the same sort of clarification
of foundations, although she does not use the
epoche as her method in her later works. She draws on
Thomas’ designation of wisdom as a perfectum opus rationis,
a perfect achievement of reason.45 The philosopher
is not satisfied with a provisional, temporary clarification
of the sciences, but wants the ultimate clarification.
He or she is entranced by the world of experiences, and
is driven by his or her natural desire to know to “break
through to the final intelligibility, to Being [Sein] itself, to the
structure of being [zum Aufbau des Seienden] as such…”46 This
search into what it means to be is metaphysics, named
after the title of Aristotle’s work on first philosophy. It is very good and productive to proceed in the natural
sciences as always, working out the causal relationships
between things, but we need to remember to ask the important
question: “But what, then, are things?”47 This is
the question behind every metaphysics, from Plato to
Heidegger, and is the true meaning of philosophia perennis,
often taken to mean a closed system of thought, but more genuinely referring to the irresistible philosophical
drive to trace the logos or absolute meaning of the
world.48 The philosopher is driven by an inner necessity
to ask “what does it mean to be?”

V. The Dependence of Philosophy on Faith

According to Stein, there is a great scandal (a notion
she derives from Maritain and Marcel): we cannot
penetrate the foundations of Being from natural experience.
This is not a mere factual statement, that we have
not yet provided a complete account of Being, but is an
a priori impossibility: human reason hits a wall when it attempts
to get at the foundations of beings. Even if we did
know all the causal relationships between beings, the ultimate
reason or lack of reason behind the universe would
be beyond us. Human reason works in the universe, and
the ultimate ground must transcend the universe. We
cannot complete the project of first philosophy with our
own powers. Revelation affirmed by the virtue of faith
may offer answers, but the validity of such an answer is
not accessible to human power: faith is a gift of grace.

What is a Christian philosopher to do? “If the
philosopher does not want to be untrue to his goal that
being be understood from its ultimate foundations, then
he is compelled through his faith to expand his consideration
beyond the scope of what is naturally accessible to
him.”49 The philosopher seeks completeness of understanding,
but it appears that such completeness can only
be achieved by means of the use of revealed truth.

Philosophy can only find its ultimate completion
through faith. In her earlier work about Thomas and Husserl,
Stein establishes a formal and material relationship
of dependency between philosophy and faith. If faith is
indeed the only access to certain truths, philosophy cannot
deny it without also repudiating its desire for the most
complete and certain truth. Philosophy cannot deny faith
without ceasing to be philosophy: “Reason becomes unreason
if it wants to stop with what it can discover with
its own light and to close its eyes to what may be visible
to it in a higher light.”50 Philosophy claims to be seeking
universal truth, and cannot relinquish any area of truth
without betraying its goal.

Philosophy is dependent on faith, argues Stein. This
may seem to be a shocking statement, but follows from
the definitions: if philosophy is a matter of constant seeking,
of striving towards the ultimate ground of Being, if
furthermore this search is not a delusion of overarching
reason, then perhaps Stein is correct. If faith really exists,
if some are given the gift of contact with the divine, and
if faith is the only means of reaching something of the
transcendent ground of Being, then it seems that philosophy
must allow itself to be dependent on faith. The
arguments against Stein’s theory must either dispute the
definition of philosophy (perhaps assigning it merely an
analytic role), the existence of faith (which as personal
gift cannot be disputed), or the logical possibility of the
one working with the other.

Stein argues that the partial truth which a faithless
philosophy would possess would be compromised,
“since, given the organic interrelationship of all truth,
any partial stock, when its link to the whole is cut off, can
appear in a false light.”51 For example, if I don’t understand
physics, my understanding of biology will suffer. A
better example is what happens if one has technological
expertise but knows nothing of ethics, for just as ethics
provides the end for which technology should be used,
faith provides the end and final goal of all knowledge.
Thus there is a material dependency (that is, according to
content) of philosophy on faith.

In addition, there is a relationship of dependency
based on certitude. Modem philosophy, in the shadow of
Descartes, seeks a standard of indubitable validity. Now
for the believer, there is nothing more certain than the
testimony of faith, since its truth is guaranteed by God.
Any search for certitude must then include and be subject
to the ultimate measure of certitude, faith. A Christian
philosophy first absorbs the truths of faith (while remaining
philosophy; see below) “and [proceeds] further
by using them as the final criterion by which to gauge all
other truths.”52 So in addition to the material, contentual
dependence, there is a formal dependence of philosophy on faith based on certainty.

VI. Is Christian Philosophy Still Philosophy?

How could philosophy be in a relation of dependence
on faith and still remain philosophy? Would
it not become a subset of theology? Stein attempts to
meet this criticism: Christian philosophy may not be a
pure and autonomous philosophy, but nevertheless it is
still philosophy according to its guiding intention. The
goal of philosophy is a foundational understanding of
Being and beings. It may use information acquired from
revelation, but only for the purposes of expanding and
solidifying its hold on this basic task. Stein gives an example:
if philosophers attempt to discover the origin of the
human soul, they may come up against a block. At this
point, Christian philosophers may adopt an answer from
Christian dogma in order to attain a more comprehensive
understanding of Being.53 They use doctrines that they
know through the certainty of their faith to supplement
what human reason can achieve. They remain philosophers
because their overall guiding purpose is philosophical-to
understand Being as opposed to the intention of
theology which is to understand God.

Stein suggests that we consider a historian of science:
if the change of modem physics is depicted
through the influence of Einstein’s theory of relativity,
then the historian must learn from the natural
scientists; his work, however, through which he
has worked as a scholar, is not naturally scientific.
What is decisive is the guiding design…”54 [Italics mine.]

The historian must study science in order to
write a good history, but nevertheless, he or she writes
history, not science. Similarly, a philosopher may consider
the prologue of the Gospel of John in order to understand
the problem of the existence of universals, as
Stein does, while continuing to be a
philosopher.55 Philosophy remains
philosophy because it is concerned
with revelation for the sake of an
understanding of Being, whereas
theology is concerned with revelation
for the sake of the truths of revelation.

Christian philosophy does
not take the dogmas of faith overblindly, as dei ex machina to provide a crutch when “the
going gets tough,” but as unprovable hypotheses to aid
the construction of a true metaphysics. It is impossible
to prove creatio ex nihilo, for example, but it can be used
to understand the relationship between the universal and
the particular. Stein uses this procedure to examine the
contingency of Being and the relationships between different
levels of essence; she goes as far as possible according
to phenomenological and conceptual analyses,
but when she hits a roadblock, she appeals to faith to
fill the gap. The doctrines of faith serve as hypotheses
to help to unify the understanding of beings from their
foundation. What she does is not theology, according to
her, because the guiding intention of the work is not an
explanation of the content of revelation, but rather is an
exploration of the meaning of Being.

Stein gives an example of how this can work. In
chapter three of Endliches und Ewiges Sein, she examines
the problem of the one and the many; on the one hand,
an examination of finite beings brings us through philosophy
to the notion of a First Being, but on the other
hand, consideration of the unities of meanings in experience
lead to a “multiplicity of ultimate elements of
nature.”56 This poses a dilemma: the first cause of Being
is one, but the last elements of meaning are many. Stein
gives a summary of her view of the use of faith in philosophy:

To attain the understanding of this double face of
First Being purely philosophically is not possible because
for us there is no intuitive fulfillment of the
First Being. Theological consideration can lead to
no purely philosophical solution of the philosophical
difficulty, that is, to no unevasively conclusive
‘insight.’ However, it opens the prospect of the
possibility of a solution beyond the philosophical
boundary post corresponding to what is still philosophically
graspable, as, on the other side, the philosophical
exploration of Being unlocks the meaning
of truths of faith.57

Faith presents us with a glimpse
of what lies beyond the bounds of
reason, a way to deal with philosophical
problems that may have
no other means of solution. She
cautions, however, that faith provides
no insight. One can “see” that
2+2=4, and that it must be so; one
cannot possess any such vision ofthe content of faith.

VII. Doctrines of Faith as Hypotheses?

The task of Christian philosophy is first to bring
the work of natural reason and the content of revelation
into agreement: “it is the task of philosophy to
bring to harmony what it has extracted with its particular
means with what is offered by faith and theology-in
the sense of an understanding of being from its ultimate
foundations.”58 The Christian philosopher takes doctrines
of the faith, such as creation and the Fall, and uses them to
help complete metaphysics, ethics, and the understanding
of human nature; such work remains philosophy because
of its guiding intention. But there is a second and more
important purpose of a Christian philosophy: to prepare
the way for non-believers. An unbelieving person may
not accept the hypotheses gained by faith, but if he or
she is unbiased, he or she will be able to judge the result
by its explanatory power. For example, the problem of
incontinence (doing the wrong thing while knowing what
is right) is extremely puzzling to the philosopher: how
could one act against one’s own interests? The Christian
philosopher may propose the doctrine of original sin as
an explanation. The unbeliever accepts it as a hypothesis,
a possible explanation for moral failure. “Whether
he [the unbeliever] can agree with59 the synopsis which
for the believing philosopher results from natural reason
and revelation, should be quietly awaited. If he, thus, is
free of prejudice as he should be according to the conviction
of the philosopher, then he will not, in any case,
recoil from the attempt.”60 [Translation adapted by me.]
The unbeliever may decide later to accept the gift of faith
based on the philosophical arguments put forward by the
Christian philosopher with the help of faith.

A hypothesis derived from faith, then, can provide
a likely story to explain problems that philosophers
cannot solve by their own methods. But faith provides
a second, corrective benefit to philosophy: it can show
reasons to doubt the settled positions of philosophers.61
Stein considers, for example, Heidegger’s definition of
Dasein:62 “it is ontically distinguished by the fact that in
its Being this being is concerned about its very Being.”63
Dasein is anxious before the nothing, and fears for its
own Being-in-the-world.64 Resoluteness in the face of
death can free Dasein from illusions and allow it to be
itself.65 Unfortunately, for Heidegger there is no content
to authenticity. We become free to be ourselves, but with
no idea what we should be.

Stein can provide through faith an alternate interpretation
that can shed some doubt on Heidegger’s
conclusions. Perhaps death is not the end of existence,
but is the beginning of eternal life. Certainly we cannot
know this with scientific certainty, but it is part of faith.
In addition, says Stein, one can see that often one who
dies takes on the characteristic of a peaceful triumph after
a death struggle.66 Perhaps Dasein has been given an
eternal destiny, and can find fullness of Being rather than
mere resolution. Stein argues that eternal blessedness “is
the Being, about which man is concerned in his existence.”67
Was ist das Sein, um das es dem Menschen in seinem Dasein
geht. Translation mine.] Resolute Being-towards-death
may free us from being lost in what the other does, but
it may also free us for something, for eternal life. This is
the meaning of the old Christian saying that we ought
to remember that we are dust. We are supposed to forget
the cares of this world, but only because we have a
greater destiny. Stein’s faith can give an alternate explanation
of the phenomenological constitution of humans
that shows that Heidegger may have been wrong about
the content of resoluteness. Thus, faith as philosophical
hypotheses can both give possible explanations as well as
give room to doubt other explanations.

Of course, any such motivation to rethink philosophical
positions from some aspect of faith is not strictly
philosophical. Heidegger may in fact be wrong in his
analysis of Dasein, but it is not sufficient merely to say
that he might be wrong. A Christian philosophy must be
prepared to present a reasoned alternative analysis. The
Christian philosopher does not stand at the threshold of
modern philosophy shouting “You are wrong!” but rather
gives a counter-argument founded in faith, but based
in reason. Stein may think Heidegger is wrong because
she sees conflicts with her faith in Being and Time, but her
alternative explanation works on the basis of judgment
and phenomenological analysis. Similarly, her ontological
ascent to the divine in Endliches und Ewiges Sein uses theology
based on faith to complete the picture of Being, but
uses philosophy to undertake the ascent.

VIII. Stein’s Interpretation of Aquinas

Stein interprets St. Thomas’ procedure as working
from both natural reason and supernatural reason,
or revelation. She depicts him in her dialogue saying, “A
rational understanding of the world, that is, a metaphysics-in
the end, surely, the intention, tacit or covert, of all
philosophy-can be gained only by natural and supernatural reason working together.”68 [Emphasis mine.] In other words,
a critical, autonomous philosophy could never succeed,
since it would cut itself off from areas of truth. The
best philosophy would be one that works from faith
and reason together; in fact, there is a relation between
them of material and formal dependence. Stein contrasts
Thomas’ procedure with Husserl’s as a theocentric philosophy
versus an egocentric philosophy. Thomas starts
with God, whereas Husserl starts with consciousness:
“For me [Thomas], the first axiom of philosophy… is that
God himself is the first Truth, the principle and criterion
of all truth.”69

This interpretation of Thomas’ procedure has
been the focus of criticism. Gosebrink complains that
Stein incorrectly attributes the theory of the dependence
of reason on faith to Aquinas.70 Elders says that she has
misunderstood Thomas’ procedure, that he does not use
God as a philosophical first axiom, but rather uses insight
into the principles of the world in this way: “Fur Thomas
ist das erste philosophische Axiom nicht, daß Gott die
erste Wahrheit ist, sondern die Einsicht der Existenz der
Welt, unser selbst und der evidenten Seinsprincipien.”71

Volek says that Stein interprets Thomas as being a philosopher
at times when he is being a theologian.72 Now
in one sense, it is unimportant whether she interprets
Thomas correctly: her own philosophical insights and
method are the primary matter of concern. Aristotle is
not criticized as a philosopher for misinterpreting Plato,
but rather in his capacity as a historian of philosophy. Aristotle’s
own thoughts and conclusions are far more important
than his errors as an interpreter of his teacher.
Volek’s criticism is important, however, in another
sense. Stein adapts her philosophical procedure to
that which she sees in Aquinas. Those who argue that she
has misinterpreted Aquinas are attacking the legitimacy
of her project to work out a philosophy that makes use
of both faith and reason. To say that one is following
Aquinas is likely to gain one some degree of respectability,
at least in Catholic philosophical circles. The attacks
on her interpretation of Thomas are important precisely
because she sees herself as following his method in her
later writing. If she is wrong about Thomas, the implication
is that she is wrong with respect to the truth of the matter.

First, concerning the material and formal dependence
of philosophy on faith: Stein admits that this is not
to be found in the writings of Aquinas: “scarcely anything
of what I have just been saying about the relation of
faith and reason is to be found in St. Thomas’s writings.
For him it was all a self-evident starting point.”73 Stein is
reflecting on Aquinas’ actual procedure. There are two
points at issue: 1) Is there a relationship of dependence
between philosophy and faith in Thomas’ work? 3) Is
God indeed the first axiom of Thomas’ procedure?

Before answering these objections, it is necessary
briefly to consider Thomas’ view of philosophy and
theology, since, as Gilson notes, they are not the same
as ours.74 In one sense, concerning subject matter, all of
Thomas’ work is theological. For Thomas, philosophers
consider things according to their own natures, but theologians
consider them according to their emergence from
God and their last end in God .75 Almost all of Thomas’
writing must be considered theological by this definition,
since the concern is to show the nature of God,
creatures’ relation to God, and the final end of creation.
But philosophy is always used at the service of theology.
The science of God is the highest wisdom, and human
philosophy serves it, just as geometry or physics serves
human philosophy.76 But with regard to his method, at
times Thomas does proceed in places as a philosopher
in the modern sense. When the situation calls for it, he
proceeds by arguments within the scope of natural reason,
especially in the Summa Contra Gentiles; one could
not argue from scripture with those who do not accept
the truth of scripture. In addition, it would expose the
faith to ridicule to attempt to prove the unprovable.” In
order to convince those who do not share his faith of its
truth, St. Thomas says he will proceed “by bringing forward
both demonstrative and probable arguments, some
of which were drawn from the books of the philosophers
and of the saints, through which truth is strengthened
and its adversary overcome.”77 An examination of
Thomas’ philosophical method in this work shows that it
proceeds in an autonomous way, by means of the power
of natural reason. For example, even in the difficult case
of the eternity of the world, which Thomas did not think
could be disproven by natural reason, he does not resort
to an answer from scripture. He merely gives a probable
dialectical argument, that a good God would show forth
his goodness better by creating in time.78

Has Stein misinterpreted Aquinas’ procedure?
The answer must be yes and no. The method that she
adopts of using the truths of faith as hypotheses to aid in
crossing philosophical gaps is not present in the so-called
“philosophical Summa” (The Summa Contra Gentiles). In “Philosophy is the search for
the ultimate ground of the
Being of things, and ends at
the doorstep of the divine.”
fact, St. Thomas is very careful to avoid the use of scriptural
appeals in the stages of argument, although he will
conclude with a statement such as “Sacred Scripture
bears witness to this truth…”80 Stein is mistaken to assert
a material and formal dependence of philosophy on faith
in Aquinas’ procedure. Thomas makes use of philosophical
reasoning unencumbered by hypotheses drawn from
faith. Stein admits this in Endliches und Ewiges Sein, saying
“That he believed in a philosophy from the ground of
mere natural reason, without the help of revealed truth,
is shown in his relationship to Aristotle and the Arabs.”81 [Translation mine.]

But in a sense, Stein has followed Thomas correctly
in spirit. We saw that most of Thomas’ work can
be called theological, in that it concerns
the procession of creatures
from God and their return to him as
their end. Philosophy, for Thomas,
is always at the service of God. In
this light, I think Stein understood
Thomas precisely. She proceeds as he
did, using every tool at her disposal to
show the truth of the Catholic faith.
Philosophy is the search for the ultimate
ground of the Being of things,
and ends at the doorstep of the divine. If we understand
philosophy according to Stein’s extensive definition, then
philosophy must be dependent on faith, because it seeks a
completeness that could only come about with the aid of
faith, if at all. But we must make a distinction: what Stein
calls philosophy Thomas would call theology, since she is
concerned with God and creation’s relationship to him.
Stein, who admits that she was a newcomer to the study
of St. Thomas82 has missed some details of his method,
but has grasped the spirit behind the method. Mclnerny
says of her understanding of Thomas: “However defective
her account may be with respect to the formal difference
between philosophy and theology, she has grasped
the unity and continuity of the intellectual life and its
submersion in the spiritual life.”83 She is a follower of
Aquinas in the sense that whatever method she is using,
whether philosophical or theological, has as its final end
the understanding of God.

What of her claim that St. Thomas’ first philosophical
axiom is God as first truth? It is, of course, true
that he does not begin arguments with premises containing
divine decrees. God is not an axiom of demonstration.
But if we consider St. Thomas’ entire goal in writing
and teaching, we will find that God as truth is both
at the beginning and the end. One must remember that
Thomas Aquinas was a mendicant preacher, not merely a
philosophy or theology professor: he lived a life of poverty
and asceticism, devoted to the study of God and
to passing on the truths gained by this study to others.
Torell points out that Thomas not only viewed this active
teaching life to be a good life, he viewed this life to be the
life that Christ himself led.84 St. Thomas’ faith appears to
have been the driving force behind all of his work.

In this sense, Stein is correct to say that the first
axiom of philosophy for Thomas is “that God himself is
the first Truth, the principle and criterion of all truth.”85
Faith gives Aquinas the motivation for his work, a guide
for his procedure, and sets the plan
for his work. For example, the arguments
about the agent intellect
against the Averroists are undertaken
to save the possibility of individual
salvation; the eternity of the world
becomes a problem because it is opposed
to the doctrine of creation. To
say that God as truth is the axiom of
Thomas’ philosophy amounts to the
same thing as characterizing it as theology
according to his definition from In II Sententariuin,
quoted above. Theology in Thomas’ sense, Christian philosophy
according to Stein, “must take God as its object.
It must set forth the idea of God and the meaning of his
being; moreover, the relationship to God of whatever
else that exists, in its essence and existence, and the relationship
to the divine knowledge of the knowledge of
other knowing beings.”86 Stein has adopted this aim as her
own, so that Kaufmann correctly refers to Endliches und
Ewiges Sein as a “Summa,”87 since in it Stein uses whatever
methods are available to investigate the ultimate truth of
Being, which is God. In the end, for Stein and Aquinas, it
is not so important how one reaches the truth, but only
that one reaches it.

IX. Stein’s Place in Christian Philosophy

Nedoncelle gives a description of possible forms
of Christian philosophy that is useful for the placement
of Stein’s work. There are four possible forms: 1) a
Christian philosophy that is a preparation to faith: after
pursuing the philosophical course, it is natural that one
comes to faith. This view reduces philosophy to to a subcatechism,
and has the flaw of minimizing the necessity for a gift of faith. 2) A Christian philosophy could be
one that has developed under the influence of Christianity,
that takes its lead from the dogmas of faith, and
sometimes develops demonstrations to prove them. This
can reduce the relationship of philosophy and faith to
an accidental one of historical coincidences. 3) A Christian
philosophy could be one that inherits positions from
Christianity, as western philosophy has developed the notion
of the person from the Trinity and various moral
prohibitions from the ten commandments. Once again,
the relationship becomes something merely accidental.88

The final possibility, and the one that is closest
to Stein’s position, is that “a Christian philosophy is one
which relates itself to Christianity as to an order which is
different from it and superior to it.”89 A Christian philosophy
is a philosophy that proceeds by its own lights as far
as it can, discovers that there is a void in its understanding,
and makes way for the possibility of a revelation that
would fill the void. As philosophy, it proceeds by means
of reason. But reason finds that it cannot complete the
project of philosophy, which is to have an integrative
knowledge of the entirety of beings. So it recognizes
the possibility of supplementation by an external source.
This is the Blondelian position, says Nedoncelle, and is
also the Rahnerian position: a Christian philosophy is
one that “refers beyond itself and invites us to assume
the attitude of listening to an eventual revelation.”90

Stein does something similar by using the tools
of phenomenology and scholastic philosophy to seek out
the meaning of Being, while acknowledging the ultimate
limit of this approach. Philosophy will always remain at
the doorstep to the divine, since there can be no insight.
But Stein goes further, however, than Rahner: when she
comes to the void in our understanding, she does not just
admit the possibility of a revelation, but embraces this
revelation as providing a completeness that philosophy
cannot supply. The doctrines of faith are not proposed
to the reader as facts to be assented to, but as possible
solutions or likely stories to explain philosophical problems.
The reader is free to accept them or not, consequent
on receiving the gift of faith. Stein’s philosophy,
then, maintains the distinction between the work of philosophy
and the content of faith, but does not set up an
artificial boundary. If reason is to seek the comprehension
of all beings, it cannot shut itself off from faith.
Stein’s later work is indeed philosophical in the manner
of its investigation, but it recognizes and embraces the
completion that can be given to it by faith.

Stein’s work has some affinities with the work
of the so-called “transcendental Thomists” such as
Marechal, Rousselot, and Rahner. Whereas the aforementioned
philosophers emphasized the necessity of a
natural aptitude for God in the human intellect, in Endliches
und Ewiges Sein, Stein focuses on the necessary
dependence on divine Being that human consciousness
finds within itself, the apparent existence of intellectual
entities, as well as the final causality present within us that
cannot easily be explained without reference to God. So
Stein shares the transcendental emphasis on what must
be true for humans to exist as they do, but is less dependent
on St. Thomas for her final positions; she cannot be
considered strictly a Thomist, despite the deep influence
of Aquinas on her thought.

X. Conclusion

How should the unbeliever receive Stein’s philosophy?
What good is this sort of philosophy that makes
use of the doctrines of faith to the unbeliever, even if
they are used only as hypotheses? We have seen that the
possibilities raised by Christian philosophy can help give
likely explanations and can cast doubt on other explanations.
But why should the unbeliever pay any attention?
Can those without faith gain anything from the Christian
philosophy of Edith Stein?

Marianne Sawicki has remarked that from a phenomenologial
point of view, the post-baptismal work of
Stein is lacking insightfulness, in the Husserlian sense:
“Stein relinquished (or abdicated) the capacity of her
own flowing to register the coherence of an argument….
There can be no phenomenological intelligibility to such
a choice.”91 In a work of phenomenology, one follows
the description of some phenomenon in the hope that
through reflection one will gain an Anschauung or insight
into the essence of the thing. Stein notes that this insight
does not occur as some sort of magical vision, but
is the result of hard philosophical work: “the phenomenologist
does not sit down at his desk to await mystical
enlightenment, but that it is a question of acquiring ‘insights’
through painstaking intellectual effort.”92 This is
the meaning of the Husserlian motto “Back to the things
themselves!” The phenomenologist looks for insights into the essences of experiences. Sawicki’s complaint is that no such insights arise in the Christian philosophy of Edith Stein.

But knowledge gained by faith is, according to its
very nature, lacking in such insights. Faith gives knowledge
of the divine, which surpasses the comprehension
of any created intellect. It is knowledge because it has the
highest certainty of all, but it does not provide an intuitive
glimpse of its object. Stein says “Though the philosopher
can work with this ‘dark light’ of faith and mystery,
philosophical intelligibles are only left in an unintelligible
background, an ungroundable ultimate ground of all
being.”93 Any Christian philosophy is going to touch on
areas of mystery. Consider Stein’s earlier example of the
historian of science who discusses Einstein’s theory: the
theory will be mysterious to those readers who are not
well-versed in physics, just as the philosophy of the ultimate
ground of being will be mysterious to those to
whom the fullness of God is not present (which certainly
includes all humans). One would not reject the history of
science out of hand, merely because the subject matter is
beyond one’s knowledge. Similarly, it would be an error
just to dismiss a Christian philosophy because it speaks
of things beyond the realm of experience. This would be
the fallacy of ignorance. Thus, the non-believer cannot
have any objection to the reading of a work of Christian
philosophy based only on the inaccessibility of some insights.

It would indeed be a problem if Stein insisted
that non-believers accept the inclusions from faith. But
Stein does not make such a demand. Stein herself notes
that because of the inability of insight to reach to the
essence of God, the arguments of her Christian philosophy
can never be indisputable, but can only be suggestive.
Stein says “Theological consideration can lead to
no purely philosophical solution of the philosophical
difficulty, that is, to no unevasively conclusive ‘insight.’
However, it opens the prospect of the possibility of a
solution beyond the philosophical boundary post. …”94
There is no claim to the construction of ironclad proofs
incapable of being doubted. Stein is limited in her claims,
and so can succeed within these limits. The philosophical
inclusion of items drawn from faith is not supposed to
be conclusive, but persuasive. It is in this light that Stein’s
work in Endliches und Ewiges Sein must be viewed: it is an
attempt to show that the universe of beings, meanings,
and pure forms makes more sense when viewed in the
light of a creator. This is an attractive solution, but one
that must be accepted or rejected according to the faith
of the hearer. Because it proposes to go beyond the extent
of reason, Stein’s appeal to the content of faith must
stay in the realm of suggestion, not proof. But if one is
open to the possibility of faith as a legitimate source of
knowledge, then Stein’s philosophical inclusion of this
content of faith can be of great value.


1 John Paul II, Fides et Ratio (1998), #74.
2 Edith Stein, “Husserl and Aquinas: A Comparison,” in Knowledge and Faith, vol. VIII, trans. Walter Redmond,
The Collected Works of Edith Stein (Washington, DC: ICS Publications, 2000), 1-63.
3 Edith Stein, Endliches und Ewiges Sein, vol. II of Edith Steins Werke (Freiburg: Herder, 1950).
4 The English language lacks the tools necessary to express the distinctions between “a being” (ens, Seiend)
and the act of being (esse, Sein). I will use the word “being” to refer to the entity that is, and will capitalize the word
to refer to the is. Thus “das Sein des Seienden” would become “the Being of a being.” If I speak of the meaning of
being, I am referring to the structure that is common to all entities. If I speak of the meaning of Being, I am speaking
of that by which all beings “be.”
5 Stein, Endliches und Ewiges Sein, 24.
6 English translations of Endliches und Ewiges Sein will be from an unpublished translation by Augusta
Gooch, unless otherwise noted.
7 Karl-Heinz Lembeck, “Glaube Im Wissen? Zur Aporetischen Grundstruktur der Spatphilosophie Edith
Steins,” in Denken Im Dialog: Zur Philosophie Edith Steins, ed. Waltraud Herbstrith (Tubingen: Attempto Verlag, 1991), 170.
8 Hildegard Maria Gosebrink, “Edith Stein. Philosophie auf dem Hintergrund von Thomas v. Aquin und
Edmund Husserl.” (Wurzburg: Julius-Maximilians-Universitat, 1995), 77-78.
9 Edith Stein, Einfuhrung in die Philosophic, vol. XIII of Edith Steins Werke (Freiburg: Herder, 1991), 36.
10 Edith Stein, “Was istPhilosophie? Ein Gesprach Zwischen Edmund Husserl und Thomas von Aquino,” in
Erkenntnis und Glaube, ed. Michale Linsenn O.C.D. and Lucy Gelber, Vol. XV of Edith Steins Werke (Freiburg: Herder, 1993), 19-48.
11 Stein, “Husserl and Aquinas: A Comparison,” 16A.
12 Ibid., 17.
13 Ibid., 13A.
14 Edith Stein, “Die Ontische Struktur der Person und Ihre Erkenntcustheoretische Problematic,” in Welt und
Person, Beitrdg Zum Christlichen Wahrheitsstreben, vol. VI of Edith Steins Werke (Freiburg: Herder, 1962), 188.
15 St Thomas Aquinas, Truth, trans. Robert W. Mulligan (Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1952), Q.14, 2c.
16 Ibid., Q. 14, a.l, ad.7.
17 Stein, “Husserl and Aquinas: A Comparison,” 21A.
18 Stein, Endliches und Ewiges Sein, 29. 19Ibid., 23-24.
20 Stein, “Husserl and Aquinas: A Comparison,” 20A.
21 Gosebrink, “Edith Stein. Philosophic auf dem Hintergrund von Thomas v. Aquin und Edmund Husserl,” 34.
22 Stein, “Die Ontische Struktur der Person und Ihre Erkenntnisttheoretische Problematic,” 186.
23 Ibid., 187.
24 Ibid.
25 Ibid., 188.
26 Ibid.
27 Ibid., 189.
28 Ibid., 188.
29 Edith Stein, “Die Seelenburg,” in Welt und Person, Beitrag Zum Christlichen Wahrheitsstreben, vol. VI of Edith
Steins Werke (Freiburg: Herder, 1962), 67.
30 Stein, “Die Ontische Struktur der Person und Ihre Erkenntnisttheoretische Problematic,” 192.
31 Ibid.
32 Ibid., 189.
33 Ibid.
34 Ibid., 192.
35 Stein, “Husserl and Aquinas: A Comparison,” 21A.
36 Stein, Endliches und Ewiges Sein, 15.
37 Plato, Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1997), Letter VII, 344c.
38 Aristotle, Metaphysics, in The Complete Works of Aristotle (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), 982bllff.
39 Stein, Endliches und Ewiges Sein, 15.
40 Ibid., 16.
41 Ibid., 17.
42 Note that Dr. Gooch’s translation does not capitalize the word “Being” to mark the difference between Sein
and das Seiend. I have changed the capitalization here and will continue to do so for clarity.
43 Edmund Husserl, Phenomenology and the Crisis of Philosophy, trans. Quentin Lauer (New York: Harper and
Row, 1965), 87.
44 Stein, Endliches und Ewiges Sein, 19.
45 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province (Westminister: Encyclopxdia Britannica,1952), 11-11 Q.45, a. 2.
46 Stein, Endliches und Ewiges Sein, 20.
47 Husserl, op. cit., 97.
48 Stein, “Husserl and Aquinas: A Comparison,” 7A.
49 Stein, Endliches und Ewiges Sein, 23.
50 Ibid.
51 Stein, “Husserl and Aquinas: A Comparison,” 17A.
52 Ibid., 18A.
53 Stein, Endliches und Ewiges Sein, 25.
54 Ibid.
55 Ibid., 111-12.
56 Ibid., 115-16.
55 Ibid., 116.
58 Ibid., 24.
59 mitvollziehen: the sense is stronger than “agree with,”more like “co-perform.” Gooch uses “posit.”
60 Stein, Endliches und Ewiges Sein, 30.
61 This line of thought was suggested to me in conversation by Dr. Alasdair McIntyre.
62 Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, translated by Joan Stambaugh (Albany: State University of New York
Press, 1996), 12 [German pagination].
63 I have adjusted the capitalization to be in line with my use of “being” for “Seiend” and “Being” for “Sein.”
64 Heidegger, op. cit., 186-87.
65 Ibid., 266.
66 Edith Stein, “Martin Heideggers Existentialphilosophie,” in Welt und Person, Beitrdg Zum Christlichen Wahrheitsstreben,
vol. VI of Edith Steins Werke (Freiburg: Herder, 1962), 106.
67 Ibid., 110.
68 Stein, “Husserl and Aquinas: A Comparison,” 19A.
69 Ibid., 29A.
70 Hildegard Maria Gosebrink, “Wissenschaft Als Gottesdienst: Zur Bedeutung Thomas’ von Aquin Fur
Edith Stein in Ihrer Speyerer Zeit (1923-1931),” in Das Christentum, edited by Jose Sanchez de Murillo, Edith-SteinJahrbuch
(Wiirzburg: Echter, 1998), 525.
71 Leo J. Elders, “Edith Stein und Thomas von Aquin,” in Edith Stein: Leben, Philosophic, Vollendung. Abhandlungen
Des Internationalen Edith-Stein-Symposiums, Rolduc, 2.-4. November 1990, edited by Leo J. Elders (Wiirzburg: Nauman, 1991), 260.
72Peter Volek, Erkenntnistheorie bei Edith Stein, Metaphysische Grundlagen der Erkenntnis bei Edith Stein Im Vergleich
zu Husserl und Thomas von Aquin (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1998), 197.
73 Stein, “Husserl and Aquinas: A Comparison,” 20B.
74 Etienne Gilson, The Christian Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, translated by L. K. Shook (Notre Dame:
University of Notre Dame Press, 1994), 9.
75 In II Sententiarum: Prologue; compare also Summa Contra Gentiles 11.4.1-2 : Philosophi enim creaturas considerant,
secundum quod in propria natura consistunt; unde proprias causas et passiones rerum inquirunt: sed theologus considerat creaturas, secundum
quod a primo principio exierunt, et in finem ultimum ordinantur qui dens est.
76 St. Thomas Aquinas, Creation, vol. II of Summa Contra Gentiles, translated by James Anderson (Notre Dame:
University of Notre Dame Press, 1975), II Q.4, a.4.
77 Aquinas, ST, I Q. 46, a.3.
78 St. Thomas Aquinas, God, Vol. I of Summa Contra Gentiles, translated by Anton C. Pegis (Notre Dame: University
of Notre Dame Press, 1975), 1 q. 9, a 3.
79 Aquinas, Creation, II Q. 35, a. 8.
80 Ibid., II Q. 39, a. 8.
81 Stein, “Husserl and Aquinas: A Comparison,” 13.
82 Ibid., xiii.
83 Ralph McInerny, “Edith Stein and Thomism,” in Edith Stein Symposium: Teresian Culture, edited by John Sullivan
(Washington, DC: ICS Publications, 1987), 78.
84 Jean-Pierre Torell, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Vol. I The Person and His Work, trans. R. Royal (Washington, D.C.:
The Catholic University of America Press, 1996), 89.
85 Stein, “Husserl and Aquinas: A Comparison,” 29A.
86 Ibid.
87 Fritz Kaufmann, “Review of Endliches und Ewiges Sein,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 12 (1952): 27.
88 Maurice Nedoncelle, Is There a Christian Philosophy? trans. Illtyd Trethowan (New York: Hawthorn Books, 1960), 100-05.
89 Ibid., 106.
90 Karl Rahner, Hearer of the Word, ed. Andrew Tallon, trans. Joseph Donceel (New York: Continuum, 1994), 16.
91 Marianne Sawicki, Body, Text, and Science: The Literacy of Investigative Practices and the Phenomenology of Edith Stein
(Boston: Kluwer Academic Press, 1997), 218.
92 Stein, “Husserl and Aquinas: A Comparison,” 40-41B.
93 Stein, Endliches und Ewiges Sein, 25-26.
94 Ibid., 116.