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I And Thou [Paperback]

By Martin Buber (Author)
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Item description for I And Thou by Martin Buber...

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.

Publishers Description
Martin Buber's "I and Thou" has long been acclaimed as a classic. Many prominent writers have acknowledged its influence on their work; students of intellectual history consider it a landmark; and the generation born since World War II considers Buber as one of its prophets.
The need for a new English translation has been felt for many years. The old version was marred by many inaccuracies and misunderstandings, and its recurrent use of the archaic "thou" was seriously misleading. Now Professor Walter Kaufmann, a distinguished writer and philosopher in his own right who was close to Buber, has retranslated the work at the request of Buber's family. He has added a wealth of informative footnotes to clarify obscurities and bring the reader closer to the original, and he has written a long "Prologue" that opens up new perspectives on the book and on Buber's thought. This volume should provide a new basis for all future discussions of Buber.

Citations And Professional Reviews
I And Thou by Martin Buber has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/1993 page 69

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Free Press
Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.07" Width: 5.4" Height: 0.48"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 1971
Publisher   Free Press
ISBN  0684717255  
ISBN13  9780684717258  

Availability  21 units.
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More About Martin Buber

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Walter Kaufmann is Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University. Born in Germany in 1921, he graduated from Williams College in 1941, and returned to Europe with U.S. Military Intelligence during World War II. In 1947 he received his Ph.D. from Harvard and joined the Princeton faculty. He has held visiting professorships at many American universities, and Fulbright professorships at Heidelberg and at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
His books include Nietzsche, Critique of Religion and Philosophy, From Shakespeare to Existentialism, The Faith of a Heretic, Cain and Other Poems, Hegel, and Tragedy and Philosophy. Several of these books have been translated into various foreign languages.
Kaufmann's own translations of ten of Nietzsche's works, of Leo Baeck's Judaism and Christianity, and of Twenty German Poets have won wide recognition. Of his verse translation of Goethe's Faust, Stephen Spender said in The New York Times Book Review: "The best translation of Faust that I have read." And the Virginia Quarterly Review said: "There is little question that this is the translation of Goethe's Faust, both in poetic beauty and in comprehension of the original."

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. Mythos (Paperback)
  3. Scribner Classics

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Product Categories

2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Religious
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( B ) > Buber, Martin
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Philosophy
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > General
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality

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Reviews - What do customers think about I And Thou?

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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