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May 16 , 2008

Edith Stein and Regina Jonas

Religious Visionaries in the Time of the Death Camps


This ground-breaking book examines the lives of two extraordinary, religious women. Both Edith Stein and Regina Jonas were German Jewish women who demonstrated 'deviant' religious desires as they pursued their spiritual paths to serve their communities during the Holocaust. Both were religious visionaries viewed as iconoclasts in their own times. Stein, the first woman to receive a doctorate in philosophy from Husserl, the founder of phenomenology, claimed her Jewish identity while she was still a cloistered Carmelite nun. Jonas, the first woman rabbi in Jewish history, served as a rabbi in Berlin and Theresienstadt concentration camp. A study of a contemplative and a rabbi, the book ranges across many spiritual and theological questions, not least it offers a remarkable exploration of the theology of spiritual resistance. For Stein, this meant redemption and the transmutation of suffering on the cross; for Jonas, acts of compassion bring the face of God into our presence.

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