Friday, 18 January 2013

Hedwig Conrad-Martius

Placed an order for Hedwig Conrad-Martius, Das Sein, shipped by Abe Books all the way from Japan… should be here in 30-60 days. The book is one of  Ratzinger’s sources for his reflections on person and relation. The author is a woman, a phenomenologist and Christian mystic. Though Protestant, she received a dispensation to become the godmother of Edith Stein. Stein’s interest in Catholicism came from a visit to the home of Conrad-Martius.

C-M was one of the first women in German to pursue a university education. She came under the influence of Husserl, but later felt that Husserl's transcendental idealist tendency was not adequate. She herself worked out what is called an "ontological phenomenology."

Interesting that her Das Sein is one of the three sources quoted by Ratzinger when he indicates directions for the further development of his insights about the basically relational nature of all personal being. The other two sources are B. Welte, “Homoousios hemin,” in Das Konzil von Chalkedon III, ed. A. Grillmeier and H. Bacht (Würzburg, 1954), 51-80 and H.U. von Balthasar, Cosmic Liturgy: The Universe according to Maximus the Confessor, tr. Brian E. Daley (San Francisco: Ignatius and Communio Books, 2003), 235-55. See

Perhaps I should work towards a second article on Person and Relation, concentrating this time on Ratzinger's sources. A sort of retrieval of Ratzinger along the lines of what I tried to do for De Smet: what is his understanding of knowing? being? objectivity / truth? Should be extremely interesting. Ratzinger has, of course, a Bonaventure-Franciscan background, fundamentally, in contrast to several of the other leading theologians of the Council who had a Thomist background. 

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