There are few topics more central to philosophical discussions than the meaning of being, and few thinkers offer a more compelling and original vision of that meaning than Edith Stein (1891–1942). Stein’s magnum opus, drawing from her decades working with the early phenomenologists and intense years as a student and translator of medieval texts, lays out a grand vision, bringing together phenomenological and scholastic insights into an integrated whole. The sheer scope of Stein’s project in Finite and Eternal Being is daunting, and the text can be challenging to navigate. In this book, Sarah Borden Sharkey provides a guide to Stein’s great final philosophical work and intellectual vision. The opening essays give an overview of Stein’s method and argument, and they place Finite and Eternal Being both within its historical context and in relation to contemporary discussions. The author also provides clear, detailed summaries of each section of Stein’s opus, drawing from the latest scholarship on Stein’s manuscript. Edith Stein’s Finite and Eternal Being: A Companion offers a unique guide, opening up Stein’s grand cathedral-like vision of the meaning of being as the unfolding of meaning.
Sarah Borden Sharkey is professor of philosophy at Wheaton College.
Part One: Contextual Essays
Essay I: The Structure, Method, and Argumentation of Finite and Eternal Being
Essay II: Sources and Context for Finite and Eternal Being
Essay III: The Significance of Finite and Eternal Being
Part Two: Synopsis of Finite and Eternal Being
Chapter One: Introduction: The Question of Being
Chapter Two: Act and Potency as Ways-of-Being
Chapter Three: Essential and Actual Being
Chapter Four: Essence – essentia, οὐσία – Substance, Form, and Matter
Chapter Five: Be-ing as Such (Transcendentals)
Chapter Six: The Meaning of Being
Chapter Seven: The Image of the Trinity in Creation
Chapter Eight: The Meaning and Foundation of Individual-Being
Appendix I: Martin Heidegger’s Philosophy of Existence
Appendix II: Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle
Sarah Borden Sharkey’s companion to Edith Stein’s Finite and Eternal Being is a clearly and beautifully written and fascinating read for students, scholars, and indeed anyone with an interest in Stein’s magnum opus. Its three initial essays, shedding light on the work’s argument, its context and its potential contributions to contemporary debates are deeply insightful and highly thought provoking. 'Essay III' could be studied on its own with a view of thinking through the implications of Stein’s work for a renewed understanding of metaphysics as ,first, the philosophy of being.
The close reading of Stein’s text that follows is written by a master whose engagement with the work is long standing. She is unwilling to say things she cannot stand over, so when she is puzzled by Stein’s choices, she will let it shine through. This will facilitate future readings that have the advantage of knowing Borden’s introduction. For these reasons it will be the first port of call for many students of the Stein's work, and it will lay the foundation for many detailed investigations of the problemata listed in Essay III.
An expert guide written by a leading, internationally recognized Edith Stein scholar, this book will lead readers though the intricate, original insights and arguments synthesizing phenomenology and medieval scholastic thought to present a profound sense of the layers of being that constitute reality. Borden Sharkey's work will serve as an important scholarly reference work for those interested in grasping Stein's master work, Finite and Eternal Being. Written with great lucidity and cogency, this work paves the way for a novel understanding of Stein's later philosophy.
Equipped with a keen grasp of Edith Stein’s thought and extensive knowledge pertaining to Stein studies, Sarah Borden Sharkey articulately navigates Stein’s opus with clear and concise contextual essays, summaries, and occasional commentary and questions posed for further study. Numerous notes and a German glossary add to making this companion a very valuable resource for Stein research for readers of all levels of familiarity with Stein’s writings. This work is undoubtedly a major and much needed contribution to Stein studies!