Edith Stein in Focus at a Time of Crisis

New Book Looks at Her Anthropology

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ROME, MARCH 1, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Edith Stein’s voice is necessary in a world facing a crisis of misunderstanding of the human person, judging by a conference at the Lateran University.

At the meeting Friday a new book by philosopher Anna Maria Pezzella was presented. “The Philosophical Anthropology of Edith Stein: Phenomenological Research of the Human Person,” published by Città Nuova, has just gone on sale in Italian bookstores.

The volume presents the anthropological thought of Stein — Teresa Benedicta of the Cross — the philosopher, Carmelite and martyr canonized in 1998.

The author delved into Stein’s understanding of the human person, as well as of her phenomenology, particularly her “contributions on empathy or the capacity to put oneself in the other’s place, allowing the latter to be who he is.”

“The nucleus of Edith Stein’s reflections is the human person in his integrity,” Pezzella said during the presentation.

As a 20th-century philosopher, Stein does not start from the idea that “God exists,” but from “the need to seek God through a philosophical path,” Pezzella continued.

Angela Ales Bello, professor of philosophy at the Lateran University, a specialist in Stein and Edmund Husserl, described Pezzella’s book as “an easy-to-read text in which Stein’s dual anthropology emerges in a very convincing way.” Ales Bello is president of the new Edith Stein Italian Association.

Sister Carla Bettinelli, vice president of the Edith Stein Italian Association and professor of pedagogy in Milan, said that the book speaks of anthropology and nature in a different way from the present “which falls into a geneticism and zoology” which from her point of view are “disturbing.”

Sister Bettinelli applauded Pezzella’s text because it focuses on the meaning of education and pedagogy as “builders” of the person.

Emilio Baccarini, professor of philosophy at Rome’s Tor Vergara University and the Lateran University, called for the rediscovery of Stein’s phenomenology and her concept of empathy, at a time when “the degradation of the human and the anthropological crisis are worrying.”

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