Buber, Martin

Buber, Martin

biographical name


Martin Buber.—Consulate General of Israel in New York

(born Feb. 8, 1878, Vienna, Austria-Hungary—died June 13, 1965, Jerusalem) German Jewish religious philosopher and biblical translator. Brought up in Lemberg (now Lviv, Ukraine), he studied in Vienna, Berlin, Leipzig, and Zürich. Friedrich Nietzsche's heroic nihilism led Buber, a nonobservant Jew, to Zionism. He advocated Jewish-Arab cooperation in Palestine and saw Hasidism as a healing power for the malaise of modern Judaism. Under Nazi pressure, he emigrated to Palestine in 1938, and he taught at Hebrew University until 1951. I and Thou (1923) expresses Buber's belief that the human (I) encounters God (Thou) as a distinct being, rather than merging in mystical union. The Bible was for Buber derived from the encounter between God and his people, but he rejected many of the Talmud's laws as emerging from a relationship in which God was objectified rather than truly addressed.

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