Edith Stein and Regina Jonas: Religious Visionaries of the Death... Cover Art

Edith Stein and Regina Jonas: Religious Visionaries of the Death Camps (Religion and Violence) (Paperback)

By: Emily Leah Silverman (Author)



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This groundbreaking book answers myriad compelling questions for modern day spiritual seekers, as well as those interested in a feminist theology of the Holocaust. What do Edith Stein, a Jewish Carmelite nun and Regina Jonas, the first woman rabbi in Jewish history have in common? Both were German Jewish women who demonstrated "deviant" religious desires as they pursued their spiritual paths to serve their communities during the Holocaust. What did it mean to be a Jewish nun? What did it mean to be a woman rabbi? Both were religious visionaries viewed as iconoclastic in their own times. Why did Stein convert from Judaism to Catholicism and Jonas go deeper into Judaism? How did Stein, the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in philosophy from Husserl, the founder of phenomenology, claim her Jewish identity while she was a cloistered Carmelite nun from 1933 to 1942 in the monasteries of Carmel in Cologne and then Echt? How did Regina Jonas, the first ordained woman rabbi in Jewish history, serve as a woman rabbi from 1936 to 1944, first in Berlin and then in Theresienstadt? How did they view their own hybrid religious identities and how did these claims show their "spiritual resistance," allegiances and leadership during the Holocaust? What does it mean to have "deviant" religious desires? What does it mean to be spiritually true to oneself and to spiritually resist the Holocaust? What is a theology of "spiritual resistance"? For Stein, it meant redemption and the transmutation of suffering on the cross; for Jonas, acts of compassion bring the face of God into our presence, which is a form of liberation. The contemplative and the rabbi provide us with new insights into this world of unimaginable suffering. Stein died in Auschwitz in 1942; Jonas died there in 1944, never having known each other.


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