Quaestiones Disputatae

Volume 4, Issue 1, Fall 2013

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

Karl Schudt
Pages 21-30

Edith Stein, Apophatic Theology, and Freedom

In Finite and Eternal Being, Edith Stein attempts an ascent to the fullest understanding of being. She starts with the personal being of the I and rises to the uncreated divine being, which is the formal, efficient, and exemplary cause of all that is. This divine being is also simple, and in this divine simplicity Stein pauses, remarking that one cannot properly make judgments about God since the very form of the judgment implies composition. God is, in the end, knowable only through what he is not—using the apophatic way of negation. God reveals himself as a person, and one who has created humans in his image and likeness. I will show the unique way in which Stein describes this image relationship: the ultimately unknowable individual being or haeccitas of each human person is a mirror of the unknowable being of God. Unknow­ability becomes, paradoxically, a way to know.