Edith Stein

“Step by Step” with Edith Stein

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“In this letter Stein gives us a first reason why she desired to be clear about the philosophical mission of her life: all her writings were leading up to ‘laying the foundations of education.'”

Edith Stein. Potency and Act (The Collected Works of Edith Stein) (Kindle Locations 1071-1072). Kindle Edition.

The statement above from the introduction to her book Act and Potency reflects one of many points of convergence between my driving inspiration and Edith Stein’s. Her “step by step” (a term she uses often) approach and desire for “systematic” thinking drew me immediately. Her mission to render educational the philosophical speaks to an inner yearning I have for years not been able to articulate.

Having been blessed with a Phenomenological, systematic understanding which is the basis of my own project, I found myself frustrated after a decade that there seemed to be no way to “teach” the methodology. Or, the question even haunted my mind – can it be taught? I was determined to show that it can be; yet, I had no idea how.

I stated some time ago that this was the mission for my my 60s, God willing, that is, to “crack the code” on my own work. I had already referred to Edith Stein in some of my writings. I thought over her work some more. I visited a bookstore. As soon as I walked in, I felt as if being pushed to a shelf holding her book Faith and Knowledge. Suddenly the path emerged as the mist rose. Edith Stein became my “step-by-step” mentor.

“He must get down into the grounds themselves and grasp them. And this means that the grounds must grip him and best him in the sense that he decides to accept them and retraces within himself the path the other followed from grounds to conclusions, perhaps even going beyond him. Or else he must best the grounds; I mean, he must decide to get free of them and take another path.”

“Such is the dilemma of all human philosophizing: truth is but one, yet for us it falls into truths (plural) that we must master step by step. At some point we must plunge in to discover a greater expanse; yet when this broader horizon does appear, a new depth will open up at our point of entry.”

~ Walter Adams

Edith Stein Potency and Act

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