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v2.1 Reference

Thine Own Self

Individuality in Edith Stein's Later Writings

Edith Stein was one of the important early phenomenologists. A German-Jewish philosopher, Discalced Carmelite nun, martyr, and saint who died in Auschwitz, Stein participated in the early 20th century revival of scholasticism and was much admired by John Paul II. Thine Own Self focuses on Stein's later writings and in particular her magnum opus, Finite and Eternal Being. Although completed in 1936, Stein's book was not published at the time because of the new laws against non-Aryan publications, and the work sat completed but unread until after World War II. The recent availability of this book in English makes a substantive scholarly analysis of this major text particularly timely.

Thine Own Self investigates Stein's account of human individuality and her mature philosophical positions on being and essence. Sarah Borden Sharkey shows how Stein's account of individual form adapts and updates the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition in order to account for evolution and more contemporary insights in personality and individual distinctiveness. Borden Sharkey explains how Stein's theory of individuality and individual forms is tied to her understanding of essence and being, and she compares Stein's distinctive metaphysical positions to those of Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and Edmund Husserl.

In addition to expositing Stein's metaphysical positions, Borden Sharkey argues that, although Stein's account of individual forms is both more contemporary and more adequate than John Duns Scotus's haecceitas, it is nonetheless problematic. The book concludes by defending a more Aristotelian-Thomistic understanding of form—albeit one that must be rearticulated in light of contemporary and Steinian critiques.


Sarah Borden Sharkey, associate professor of philosophy at Wheaton College, is author of Edith Stein in the series Outstanding Christian Thinkers.


"Individual form is the key idea in understanding the later Stein. Borden Sharkey's work represents the first book length study of the issue in English and without a doubt offers the most significant contribution to the scholarship in this area. She presents a detailed analysis of Stein's theory in a way which is fair to Stein, helpful to the reader, and places it within the larger philosophical discussion."—Terrence C. Wright, associate professor of philosophy, St. John Vianney Theological Seminary

"Thine Own Self presents a detailed and interesting analysis of a relatively unmined concept in Stein's later philosophy. Borden Sharkey's book is a first and will make a novel and positive contribution to Stein scholarship."—Antonio Calcagno, assistant professor of philosophy, King's University College, University of Western Ontario

"[A] less formidable summary of Stein's thinking than wading through Stein's own weighty tomes." — Magistra

The Catholic University of America Press

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