Esther and Mary: The Uneasy Jewish/Catholic Dynamic in the Work and Life of Edith Stein
The second woman in Germany to earn a doctorate in philosophy, Edith Stein, born in 1891 into a Jewish family, became a Roman Catholic in 1922, a Carmelite nun in 1933, and was killed in Auschwitz in 1942. In October 1998, she was canonized as Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. From her youth, she identified as an ardent feminist, an identity she sustained throughout her life. In her prodigious postconversion philosophical and theological writings, Stein grappled with gender theories and pioneered a progressive Christian feminism that anticipated ideas articulated by Christian feminists during recent decades. Especially evident in her reverence for both biblical Esther and Virgin Mary, Stein's writings reveal her struggle to affirm her dual Jewish and Christian identities and to integrate her phenomenological analysis of gender with her theological convictions. The resulting dilemmas highlight the creative as well as time-rooted facets of Stein's thought.
Back to Volume 32, Number 1