Quote of the day: 28 January


An imaginary dialogue composed by Saint Edith Stein for the 70th birthday of her mentor, Edmund Husserl (excerpt of the original text, translated from the German by Walter Redmond)

Dramatis Personae

St. Thomas Aquinas
Edmund Husserl


The study of
Privy Councilor Husserl


April 8, 1929
late evening


Husserl (alone): My good visitors meant well with their kind birthday wishes and I certainly would not have missed a one. But after such a day it is hard to relax, and I have always been one for a good night’s sleep. Actually, after all the chatter I would appreciate a decent conversation on philosophy to get my mind back on track.

(A knock) At this late hour?
Come in, please.

A Religious (in white habit and black mantle): I’m sorry to bother you so late at night, Professor, but I heard what you just said and thought I might still chance a visit. I wanted to speak with you today—just you and I, for I do not take part in social gatherings—but since early morning I have not had the chance to be alone with you until now.

Husserl (kindly but somewhat at a loss): You are most welcome, Reverend Father. I’ve had religious as students before, but to tell the truth I don’t remember having any with your particular color-scheme. Could you please help out my poor memory?

The priest (smiling slightly): No, I have never sat at your feet. Only from afar have I followed with great interest how your philosophy arose and evolved. And some of your students have come and told me about you. I am Thomas Aquinas.

Husserl: Well, this is certainly the biggest surprise of the day. Do sit down. Forgive me if I am unsure how I should act. I would be grateful for some advice.

Thomas: Quite casually, please. Treat me like any other visitor who comes to talk about philosophy. That’s why I’m here, you see.

Husserl: Then do come and sit over here in the corner of my old leather sofa…


Edmund Husserl, ca. 1910-1920 | Wikimedia Commons (public domain)



Stein, E 2000, Knowledge and Faith, translated from the German by Redmond, W, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

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