Article Title

"The Hour of Woman" and Edith Stein: Catholic new feminist responses to essentialism


This article examines how Edith Stein’s philosophical and theological anthropology is foundational to the “new feminism” that both Paul VI and John Paul II called for in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. In particular, this article shows how Stein helps to respond to Simone de Beauvoir’s argument that taking women’s biology into consideration leads to essentialism with political implications. This article outlines main themes in the new feminism, and gives a brief overview of the ideas about the “hour of woman” and the “feminine genius” pronounced by popes Paul VI and John Paul II. This article then describes and analyzes Stein’s psycho-physical theory of the human person. Finally, this article considers the importance of Stein’s thought for feminist theology, with brief application to the issue of the ordination of women to the priesthood.


new feminism, feminine genius, psycho-physical personhood, Second Vatican Council, Edith Stein, Paul VI, John Paul II, essentialism, Simone de Beauvoir, critical essentialism, female ordination

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