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I and Thou (Scribner Classics) [Hardcover]

By Martin Buber (Author) & Ronald Gregor Smith (Translator)
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Item description for I and Thou (Scribner Classics) by Martin Buber & Ronald Gregor Smith...

Today considered a landmark of twentieth-century intellectual history, "I and Thou" is also one of the most important books of Western theology. In it, Martin Buber, heavily influenced by the writings of Frederich Nietzsche, united the proto-Existentialists currents of modern German thought with the Judeo-Christian tradition, powerfully updating faith for modern times. Since its first appearance in German in 1923, this slender volume has become one of the epoch-making works of our time. Not only does it present the best thinking of one of the greatest Jewish minds in centuries, but has helped to mold approaches to reconciling God with the workings of the modern world and the consciousness of its inhabitants.
This work is the centerpiece of Buber's groundbreaking philosophy. It lays out a view of the world in which human beings can enter into relationships using their innermost and whole being to form true partnerships. These deep forms of rapport contrast with those that spring from the Industrial Revolution, namely the common, but basically unethical, treatment of others as objects for our use and the incorrect view of the universe as merely the object of our senses, experiences. Buber goes on to demonstrate how these interhuman meetings are a reflection of the human meeting with God. For Buber, the essence of biblical religion consists in the fact that -- regardless of the infinite abyss between them -- a dialogue between man and God is possible.
Ecumenical in its appeal, "I and Thou" nevertheless reflects the profound Talmudic tradition from which it has emerged. For Judaism, Buber's writings have been of revolutionary importance. No other writer has so shaken Judaism from parochialism and applied it so relevantly to the problems and concerns of contemporary men. On the other hand, the fundamentalist Protestant movement in this country has appropriated Buber's "I and Thou encounter" as the implicit basis of its doctrine of immediate faith-based salvation. In this light, Martin Buber has been viewed as the Jewish counterpart to Paul Tillich.
This is the original English translation, available in America only in this hardcover edition of "I and Thou." Martin Buber considered Ronald Smith's the best of the English translations and it was prepared in the author's presence. The more poetic rendering, this translation can be looked at as the King James Version of Buber's "I and Thou."

Citations And Professional Reviews
I and Thou (Scribner Classics) by Martin Buber & Ronald Gregor Smith has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 12/31/2008 page 74
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2004 page 60

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Scribner
Pages   128
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.78" Width: 5.77" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jun 13, 2000
Publisher   Scribner
ISBN  0743201337  
ISBN13  9780743201339  

Availability  3 units.
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More About Martin Buber & Ronald Gregor Smith

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Martin Buber (1878-1965), one of the paramount spiritual leaders of the twentieth century, is best known as the author of I and Thou--the basic formulation of his philosophy of dialogue--and for his appreciation of Hasidim, which made a deep impact on Christian as well as Jewish thinkers. Born in Vienna, and raised in Lemberg, Buber studied philosophy at the University of Berlin. Fleeing Nazi Germany in 1938, he emigrated to Israel, where he taught social philosophy at the Hebrew University until his retirement in 1951. He lived in Jerusalem until his death in 1965.

Also published by Schocken Books, Martin Buber's work include: Israel and the World, The Legend of the Baal-Shem, The Letters Of Martin Buber, On the Bible, On Judaism, On Zion, Tales of the Hasidim, Ten Rungs, and Way of Response.

Martin Buber was born in 1878 and died in 1965.

Martin Buber has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Martin Buber Library
  2. Scribner Classics

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Religious
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( B ) > Buber, Martin
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Philosophy
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about I and Thou (Scribner Classics)?

My Favorite Book  Apr 1, 2008
I was a philosophy major in college and I've read a lot of works out there. I can tell you that this is by far my favorite book. Buber's ideas are so simple yet so profound - he offers a way to be in the world that is real, useful, and ultimately fulfilling. This book has helped me in my business relations (I work in sales) as well as my personal relations. It is also beautifully written (translated from the German). If you want to be inspired, read this book!
The Gem at the Navel of the Lotus  Mar 8, 2008
Ich und Du (badly) translated as I And Thou, by Martin Buber, takes me beyond any book I've ever read before. I had to read it with another selection, because after a few pages, my soul became saturated, and I had to read something else.

I am at a loss for how to describe this book. The Third Testament hints at the idea.

We construct the world in one of two ways: either through a relationship, which engages our entire being in the encounter (an I-You relationship), or through experiencing objects as the means to an end, engaging only a part of ourselves in an I-It relationship.

From this simple seed, Buber grows three chapters and an afterward. Walter Kaufman, who translated the work, wrote a 50 page introduction, which is in itself a wonder to experience.

The experience of reading the book was amazing, although I'm not sure that I learned as much as I might have. What Buber did was to give me words to explain how I believe, what I experience, and what I long for. I must read it again. And again. And again.
This book has to be a hoax  Jan 28, 2008
This book is difficult to read or to understand. Perhaps something has been greatly lost in the translation or else it is a complete hoax. I found it to be full of disjointed ideas and apparent nonsense.
A half-departure from liberal theology  Aug 27, 2007
Ich und Du ("I and Thou") is one of those philosophical texts which, like Schopenhauer's Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, consist of the elaboration of a single thought. The thought is stated up front: human beings have a double relation to the world: Ich-Du and Ich-Es. The Ich-Es relation reifies and separates things out (whether they be "internal" or "external" things), while the Ich-Du relation is nothing but relation itself. The Eswelt is a world of nebeneinander and the laws that govern nebeneinander, while the Duwelt is a seamless experience of "presence." The Ich that reaches out and the Du that reaches back (neither of which reflects on "what" they individually are) constitute an exclusive circular reality (Ausschließlickheit) untroubled by causal and spatiotemporal regress. To be sure, the Duwelt collapses into the Eswelt, which means that the Ich and the Du degenerate into so many instances of Es, but there is always the possibility of resurrecting the Ich & Du hidden within the Es.

There are different kinds of Ich-Du relation: 1) with nature (presumably before we know to call it "nature"), in which case we stand at the "threshold of speech"; 2) with human beings, in which case speech coincides with the Ich-Du relation; and 3) with "spiritual beings," in which case the relation itself is speechless, but it can generate speech. (This third relation is very much in the spirit of romantic poesis.) A special subset of the third relation is the relation to God, who is the Du beyond every particular Du. God is the only Du with whom our relation cannot degrade into an Ich-Es relation, because there is no Es beyond every individual Es for which God could be mistaken. (There are, too be sure, many things which people falsely call "God," things which are really part of nature or of ourselves, such as Schleiermacher's Abhangigkeitsgefühl or Rudolf Otto's Kreaturgefühl, as Buber specifically points out).

What is essential in every case is the duality of the relation. Buber warns against interpreting the Ich-Du as a self-relation of the Ich (i.e. Hegel) or as a kind of "symmetry breaking" (to use a term from physics), which can be restored to oneness at the proper mystical "heat."

One of the explicit objects of this text is to move beyond liberal Protestant theology, i.e. beyond a theology that grounds the religious in some quality of subjective experience. For Buber, religion occurs before there is a subject, and once we arrive at the subject, we find it impossible to even think of religion apart from the subject's relation to another. Buber exploits the pronoun Du ("you") to draw our attention to an experience of encounter (rather than reflection or feeling) inadequately addressed by rational philosophy, and he employs this experience in the service of religion.

Buber may not go far enough, however. He moves beyond the subject, but he does not move beyond religion-as-experience, which is the real drawback of liberal theology. In a sense, Buber is freeing God from the subject only to bind him down to "relation" (Beziehung), which hovers somewhere between subject and object, and is not obviously "religious" at all. There is nothing in Buber's argument protecting it, for example, from a biological-evolutionary explanation of the Ich-Du relation, or a psychoanalytic one. Buber overcomes one obstacle only to land himself before another one.

Sorry if that was a little technical.
a baffler  Jul 17, 2007
This book is for intellectual heavy-hitters, and unfortunately I am not one of them, thus am forced to rely on others' interpretations for the answer to the question: What was Buber talking about? I have absolutely no idea - the text rambles on as if it were about something...but is very abstract. I could not find anything in it with which to identify or relate to my experience, except for a few comments about creative acts. This book is for readers accustomed to philosophical texts. It is not for the untrained or casual reader - it is for the academic reader.

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