Volume 93, Issue 4, Fall 2019
William E. Tullius
Edith Stein and the Ethics of Renewal
Contributions to a Steinian Account of the Moral Task
While Edith Stein never developed an ethics of her own, her work is nonetheless suggestive of an “ethics of renewal,” which appears in nuce in various moments of her corpus. First, in her phenomenological treatises, Stein analyzes the ethical development of personality in the unfolding of the personal “core” as responding to ever higher value domains. During the 1930s, this becomes a project of living out a moral vocation bestowed by God. In Endliches und ewiges Sein, the moral life becomes a work of renewal in connection with the Teresian metaphor of the “interior castle.” Morality, for Stein, emerges from out of an inner, personal work of the soul’s conscious refurbishment according to its essential structure by coming to terms with the value-world and with God. This paper will attempt to develop Stein’s account of the nature of the moral task as renewal and some implications for moral theory.