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Edith Stein, a Biography

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This is the powerful and moving story of the remarkable Jewish woman who converted to Catholicism, gained fame as a great philosopher in Germany, became a Carmelite nun, and was put to death in a Nazi concentration camp. Recently beatified by Pope John Paul II, Edith Stein was a courageous, intelligent and holy woman who speaks powerfully to us even today.


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This is the powerful and moving story of the remarkable Jewish woman who converted to Catholicism, gained fame as a great philosopher in Germany, became a Carmelite nun, and was put to death in a Nazi concentration camp. Recently beatified by Pope John Paul II, Edith Stein was a courageous, intelligent and holy woman who speaks powerfully to us even today.

30 review for Edith Stein, a Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mary Alice

    Ok. I just started reading this and I already know that I will be deeply moved by this woman's life. Incredible. What a woman. I got this book out of the library 'cuz I have no dinero to purchase a copy. But, dang, I will need to purchase it. I have no money but will have to find a way to get a cheap copy. Hope i can find it for a buck or two on half.com. I need to own it so I can mark it all up with notes and refer to it later when my soul needs to be fed and/or boosted. :) This book is just Ok. I just started reading this and I already know that I will be deeply moved by this woman's life. Incredible. What a woman. I got this book out of the library 'cuz I have no dinero to purchase a copy. But, dang, I will need to purchase it. I have no money but will have to find a way to get a cheap copy. Hope i can find it for a buck or two on half.com. I need to own it so I can mark it all up with notes and refer to it later when my soul needs to be fed and/or boosted. :) This book is just what I need right now. i have been disheartened lately and worn down by the devil's ability to make what seemed like the strongest turn weak and succomb. This woman's life lessons shall spur me on. Teresa of Avila is my favorite female saint and the one I relate to most. This Teresa will be right up there with her and my other favorite Christian woman, Mother Teresa. Interesting how all my favorites are named teresa...hmmmm. And they are all mystics. What does this say about me??? Recently, I had a conversation with a Mount DeSales nun. When I told her I related to Teresa of Avila she said, "Oh! Wow!You have an attraction to Teresa of Avila. You are in so much trouble!" Ha ha. I said, "I know! She was tough. I'm almost afraid to ask her for help." Ha Here's a link to a biography of this incredible woman named Teresa Benedict of the Cross Edith Stein. It's from the Vatican library website. Any woman who stood so humbly entering the death camps in honor of her people is one admirable woman. The full biography is at this link. http://www.vatican.va/news_services/l... Teresa Benedict of the Cross Edith Stein (1891-1942) nun, Discalced Carmelite, martyr "We bow down before the testimony of the life and death of Edith Stein, an outstanding daughter of Israel and at the same time a daughter of the Carmelite Order, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, a personality who united within her rich life a dramatic synthesis of our century. It was the synthesis of a history full of deep wounds that are still hurting ... and also the synthesis of the full truth about man. All this came together in a single heart that remained restless and unfulfilled until it finally found rest in God." These were the words of Pope John Paul II when he beatified Edith Stein in Cologne on 1 May 1987.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Incredible biography of Edith Stein written by a fellow Carmelite before Edith Stein was even canonized. Considering Stein's work as a philosopher and her research interest in phenomenology and Thomistic philosophy, I expected her writings to be kind of dense. The author maintains a great balance for the "average" reader by keeping the chapters short and concrete. This is an intense and compelling portrait that is very engaging and readable at the same time.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Wojciechowski

    A phenomenal account of the Jewish-born philosophy professor who was atheist for a time, then converted to Catholicism, then became a Carmelite nun, only to be put to death in Auschwitz.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    Edith Stein was born to a devoutly Jewish family in Germany on the Day of Atonement in 1891. "Mother and daughter both regarded this coincidence as a mark of election. Neither one realized the cost of the atoning sacrifice that then lay far in the future." (p. 22.) Edith was a brilliant child and scholar, but during her childhood she lost all faith in a personal God. She directed her life to the study of psychology and then philosophy. Eventually she became renown in the field of phenomenology. Edith Stein was born to a devoutly Jewish family in Germany on the Day of Atonement in 1891. "Mother and daughter both regarded this coincidence as a mark of election. Neither one realized the cost of the atoning sacrifice that then lay far in the future." (p. 22.) Edith was a brilliant child and scholar, but during her childhood she lost all faith in a personal God. She directed her life to the study of psychology and then philosophy. Eventually she became renown in the field of phenomenology. (To be honest, I don't have a clue about what phenomenology is and reading through some of that made my brain hurt!) Ironically, it was while immersed in this objective worldview of phenomenology that she discovered God. Through her mentor Max Sheler she came to realize "that religion alone makes the human being human. He placed humility at the foundation of all moral endeavor and argued that the sole purpose of this endeavor was to lead the individual to the loss of self in God--and on to new resurrection." (p. 47) Edith was forced to acknowledge her own spiritual poverty. She then immersed herself particularly in the gospels and the writings of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. It was not an easy conversion. Edith loved her Jewish identity and was very close to her family. Her conversion caused her family, particularly her mother, much pain. Her mother never got over it. Frau Stein especially never recovered from the pain when Edith eventually entered Carmel, taking the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Her story is the journey from atheist philosopher to Carmelite nun and then to Auschwitz and now she is Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. I sure hope they make a movie of this woman's life some day. I am eager to read some of her works and to learn more about her.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Natasha

    Everyone should know the story of this remarkable Jewish woman, Christian philosopher, Carmelite nun, and Holocaust martyr.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    This biography focused heavily on her academic work and writings....which are very dense and hard to understand if you aren’t a philosopher. I haven’t read any other biographies on her...but I am going to look for a better one that focuses more on her personal and spiritual life rather than her intellectual/academic life.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kaylena Radcliff

    This was a helpful, concise, and interesting history of Edith Stein. It did, however, focus almost entirely on her philosophical and theological development, and I would have like more details about her life.

  8. 5 out of 5

    May Baaklini

    This book is a truly powerful work. It is short but nonetheless challenging and intense. I am now set on reading St. Therese De Lisieux’s autobiography.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Hope

    I looked at this book on the bookshelf for a long time. After reading Joan of Arc by Mark Twain, I was excited by another biography of a saint. I hesitated because of the WWII connection and the graphic nature that it might entail. There was a lot of reference to the changing political climate in Germany, but the details of Edith Stein death in Auschwitz is extremely limited. What the book does consist of is a compelling and inspiring detail of her live before entering the Carmel and being I looked at this book on the bookshelf for a long time. After reading Joan of Arc by Mark Twain, I was excited by another biography of a saint. I hesitated because of the WWII connection and the graphic nature that it might entail. There was a lot of reference to the changing political climate in Germany, but the details of Edith Stein death in Auschwitz is extremely limited. What the book does consist of is a compelling and inspiring detail of her live before entering the Carmel and being consecrated to Jesus in that way. Her journey in philosophical studies, her lectures on the role women and early feminism, and her important contributions on the idea of empathy and soul is what makes up the bulk of the book. Really, it is not as "dull" as the previous sentence makes the book out to be. Herbstrith (author) uses numerous original sources and thus makes Edith Stein so accessible. You will read, in part, not just Stein's scholarly works, but many personal letters. Don't let this book sit on the shelf like I did. Pick it up and enjoy the journey with St. Edith Stein.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Professor_Challenger

    An incredible woman, this biography managed to give a general overview of what she was like. That said, it was woefully inadequate when it came to Stein's writings and philosophy. The lack of much info on her academic work and intellectual beliefs was a gaping hole in the book, as it left out a huge portion of what must have made Stein who she was. That's not to say it doesn't address what she was into - like phenomenology. However, we nowhere are given a good grasp of what the philosophy which An incredible woman, this biography managed to give a general overview of what she was like. That said, it was woefully inadequate when it came to Stein's writings and philosophy. The lack of much info on her academic work and intellectual beliefs was a gaping hole in the book, as it left out a huge portion of what must have made Stein who she was. That's not to say it doesn't address what she was into - like phenomenology. However, we nowhere are given a good grasp of what the philosophy which absorbed so much of her life is. And that seems like an important omission.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    A well written introduction to the life of Edith Stein. When I picked up the book, I knew nothing about this saint. Now that I am finished, I believe I have at least an elementary grasp on this philosopher/Carmelite nun/Saint. The biography is accessible, not too dense, and yet delves deep enough into Stein's life to provide a genuine sense of the woman Stein was. Up next, one of Stein's own works.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rochelle Reding

    Raised in a Jewish family, part of the intellectual elite of her time and rejection of religion roots and stated atheism, conversion to Christianity, sought after to speak on women's issues, life as a Carmelite nun and finally death in a Nazi death camp because of her Jewish roots. What a journey this woman had. Not an easy read but I found such inspiration from her story and her writings to be as relevant today as they were in the 1930's. Highly recommend getting to know this woman.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Andersen

    I was hoping this book would be all about her conversion and her time in Auschwitz; unfortunately, it is 95% about her life as a student and then teacher of philosophy--which is not that interesting to me. Her baptism was barely mentioned, and very little is known about her time as a prisoner, so that part of her life (and her death) is mostly speculation.

  14. 4 out of 5

    cheryl

    Strangely comforting (despite a human need to be unique in the world of perceived clones) to know someone's trudged along a path so similar. But incredibly humbling to know how far she went with her convictions, and the standard to which she lived her life, gives me a push to express a part of her spirit in mine.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    Edith Stein was a fascinating woman for her time. I have never read a book like this before and it isn't an easy read. She was a philosopher, intellectual, lecturer, Jewish, and Catholic nun in her lifetime. After being in Germany I've had a great interest in reading about the people who died there during the war.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Charles Bell

    Inspiring story of a true saint who lived out what she believed-that love wins out over cruelty and hatred.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    Very inspiring!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Carly Davis

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ann

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marek N

  21. 5 out of 5

    Terry Sheehan

  22. 5 out of 5

    mary catherine

  23. 5 out of 5

    Terry

  24. 4 out of 5

    John Forman

  25. 5 out of 5

    Albin

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carlos

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jane Van Hof

  28. 5 out of 5

    Karen Olive

  29. 4 out of 5

    Juliana Feriani

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ana Campos

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