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The Transposition Of Edith Stein: Her Contributions to Philosophy, Feminism and The Theology of the Body Paperback – Large Print, December 12, 2012
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"One of the reasons Edith Stein remains obscure and under appreciated is that many have failed to interpret the essence of who she was... Refreshingly, this volume does none of that. I found the book exceedingly balanced in it's approach to the work and though of Edith Stein. The foundational insights and premise of this book are sound and of value to today's "armchair" philosopher, as well as his more "scholarly" counterpart."
-Anne Costa (author of "Embracing Edith Stein").
From the Author
"Professor Wilhelmsson explained the significance of his book for Edith Stein Studies: 'A central theme of the book is that one cannot fully understand Edith Stein's later contributions to feminist thought and theology without first understanding her early work on empathy. As the book was originally a master's thesis focused only on her early work on empathy I think it respects her philosophy and shows its connection to her later works better than anything else in the field.' With the book's recent exhibition at St. Stephan Cathedral in Vienna, Austria, its presence now in Rome, Italy, and strong sales in the United Kingdom The Transposition of Edith Stein is finding quick acceptance in European intellectual circles."
-Chaos To Order Publishing News
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in the context of her deep religious roots Instead, they enshroud her in intellectual verbosity that renders her inaccessible to the very people who could learn and benefit from her brilliance. Refreshingly, this volume does none of that. I found the book exceedingly balanced in it's approach to the work and though of Edith Stein. The foundational insights and premise of this book are sound and
of value to today's "armchair" philosopher, as well as his more "scholarly" counterpart. Any book on Edith Stein, is of value for our times. The truth which she so ardently sought (and ultimately found) that was so reflected in her life and death is desperately needed for us today. It rings true in her writings and in this thoughful volume and like her, it will stand the test of time.
Review by Barbara Bamberger Scott
This is a book of philosophy based on the intellectual works of an extraordinary woman. Edith Stein, a German woman born Jewish, became a student of philosophy who worked with some of the great intellectual innovators of her time, and converted to Christianity in the early twentieth century.
The author, John Wilhemsson, is a professor of philosophy at San Jose State University who has made an in-depth study of this remarkable woman's contributions to the body of philosophy. In this small book he seeks to establish that Stein did not merely copy or assist the great male philosophers of her day but in fact had unique and valuable ideas that deserve to be credited.
The book is biographical only in a limited sense: the author must give the reader a brief picture of Stein - a child prodigy with unusual empathy and caring for others whose philosophical bent developed when she went to university and studied with the great Edmund Husserl and others. Wilhemsson handles this back-story deftly, although those expecting more of the biographical side will be disappointed (Stein became a nun, was killed by the Nazis, was canonized by Pope John Paul II and is revered throughout the Catholic world as Saint Teresia Benedicta of the Cross). The author rigorously develops his single point: that Stein was a philosopher in her own right whose ideas of phenomenology and particularly of feminism are worthy of recognition, and indeed dovetail aptly with the thinking of Pope John Paul II.
The book is elegantly simple in its production, well formatted, with a warm, well chosen photo of Edith Stein on the cover. It is copiously footnoted as one would expect from a scholar of Wilhemsson's academic credentials. The subject matter is drawn from the author's Masters thesis. It is written primarily for those who share his academic interests: philosophers, clergy and thoughtful Catholics; and will be useful for them in expanding their impressions of Stein's stature as a philosopher. The word "transposition" as used here does not refer to Stein's sanctity but rather to her gift not only of empathy but of the intellectual capacity to understand and define empathy and apply it to one's perceptions of the world. My one wish for the book would have been for Wilhemsson to have drawn a line between this empathy and Stein's love for her fellow human beings which ultimately led her to sacrifice her life.
This book introduced me to St. Edith Stein's philosophy and the fact that we should acknowledge her under-appreciated contributions to phenomenology (the underlying philosophy of Theology of the Body by Blessed John Paull II). Overall, I enjoyed reading the "Transposition of Edith Stein." A friend allowed me to borrow it when he found out how intrigued I am about "The Theology of the Body," Blessed John Paul II, and St. Edith Stein. I had some difficulty understanding the middle part of the book when it discusses her philosophy as I have never studied philosophy, even in my college years, but I think it's incredibly interesting and worth reading. It was a little more clear as a I read it a second time through, but I'll have to spend more time letting the ideas and thoughts simmer in my head. Even for someone who has studied philosophy and even phenomenology, I think this book is important because it points out how St. Edith Stein clearly contributed to the development of phenomenology (something I'm assuming that most do not know). I especially like when the author explained how he titled the book. Very clever!
I think the book is right in that understanding St. Edith Stein's philosophy will help enrich an understanding of Theology of the Body and Bl. JPII's thought.