, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 59-72
Date: 21 Nov 2007

Being, aevum, and nothingness: Edith Stein on death and dying

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Abstract

This article seeks to present for the first time a more systematic account of Edith Stein’s views on death and dying. First, I will argue that death does not necessarily lead us to an understanding of our earthly existence as aevum, that is, an experience of time between eternity and finite temporality. We always bear the mark of our finitude, including our finite temporality, even when we exist within the eternal mind of God. To claim otherwise, is to make identical our eternity with God’s eternity, thereby undermining the traditional Scholastic argument, which Stein holds, that there is no real relation between the being (and, therefore, (a)temporality) of God and the being of human persons. Second, I will argue that Stein excludes the category of potentiality from her discussion of death as a relation between the fullness or actuality of being and nothingness. In fact, death is more a relation between possibility/potentiality and nothingness than a relation between actual fullness and nothingness. What Stein describes as fullness ought to be read as potential.