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Quaestiones Disputatae

Volume 4, Issue 1, Fall 2013

Selected Papers on The Legacy of Edith Stein’s Finite and Eternal Being

William Tullius
Pages 7-20

Faith, Reason, and the Place of ‘Christian Philosophy’ in Edith Stein

Paul Ricoeur claims that the tradition of philosophy is Greek by birth and, as such, encounters the Hebrew and the Christian always as an ‘other.’ The contemporary philosopher approach­ing issues of faith in the Judeo-Christian tradition, true to his or her Greek philosophical origins, can only approach the content of faith and the experience of the believer in a neutralized form and not in the mode of positive belief, rendering the idea of an explicitly ‘Christian philosophy’ impossible. In contrast, the phi­losopher Edith Stein argues for a strikingly different conclusion. Faith, entering into the framework of philosophical discussion, does not require a neutralization but stands as an authentic source of knowledge and phenomenological experience of God with­out which philosophy remains fundamentally impoverished on a variety of fronts. ‘Christian philosophy,’ for Stein, is not only a possibility, but is a philosophical necessity for the ultimate suc­cess of the philosophical project as a whole. This paper explores the nature of Christian philosophy, as articulated by Stein in Finite and Eternal Being and her essay, “Ways to Know God,” in its rela­tion to Greek thought; in particular, the way in which philoso­phy is naturally dependent upon faith, and the way in which faith forms the positive basis for a fulfilled intention of God that can be worked into philosophical analysis without violating the nature of philosophy.