An anti-totalitarian saint: The canonization of Edith Stein

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This essay explores the intellectual origins of Edith Stein’s canonization. In the years of the early Cold War, when Christians on both sides of the Atlantic proclaimed “Judeo-Christian civilization” to be the greatest bulwark against totalitarianism in both its Nazi and Soviet guises, Stein became a powerful anti-totalitarian symbol. During the 1980s, a new Pope, John Paul II, revived the memory of Stein and linked it to his own rich understanding of Judeo-Christian civilization as a set of values opposed to both Nazism and Communism. Thus, Edith Stein became an icon of anti-totalitarianism in an age of Holocaust memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-495
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the History of Ideas
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy


  • Canonization
  • Catholic Church
  • Edith Stein
  • Judaism
  • World War II


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