Martin Buber Analysis

Implications for Ethical Conduct

(Critical Survey of Ethics and Literature)

Buber’s philosophy demands that people take the risk of opening themselves up to “I-Thou” relationships, no matter how fleeting they may be. It is only in the experience of such profoundly personal relationships with their fellow human beings, the world at large, and God that humans, even momentarily, become able to escape the propensity to transform everything into an object of “I-It” use and scrutiny. It is only through the “I-Thou” dialogue that human beings can move out of a life of lonely impersonality and into a mode of existence that keeps them personally involved with the uniqueness of their fellow human beings, communities, and God. Without such an “I-Thou” foundation, there is no possibility for a moral life of meaning and purpose.

Additional Reading

(Critical Survey of Ethics and Literature)

Bach, H. I. The German Jew: A Synthesis of Judaism and Western Civilization, 1730-1930. Littman Library of Jewish Civilization. New York: Oxford University Press, 1984. This volume discusses Martin Buber’s work in the context of a history of German Jewry. An excellent survey, providing valuable background for the understanding of Buber’s thought and philosophy.

Breslauer, Daniel S. Martin Buber on Myth: An Introduction. New York: Garland, 1990. A thorough introduction to Buber’s thought on myth dealing with such subjects as “the Bible,” “Eden,” “Language,” and “Hasidism.” Includes a bibliography and index.

Diamond, Malcolm L. Martin Buber: Jewish Existentialist. New York: Oxford University Press, 1960. A reading of Buber’s works in the context of modern existential philosophy. Includes a selected bibliography and index.

Friedman, Maurice S. Martin Buber and the Eternal. New York: Human Sciences Press, 1986. A solid introduction to Buber’s thought in terms of Western and Asian religion, existentialism, and religious education. Includes an index.

Friedman, Maurice S. Martin Buber’s Life and Work. Detroit, Mich.: Wayne State University Press, 1988. A full, authoritative biography on Buber including extensive chapter notes and an index.

Kepnes, Steven. The Text as Thou: Martin Buber’s Dialogical Hermeneutics and Narrative Theology. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992. Discusses how Buber’s hermeneutics were influenced by the ideas of Romanticism. Includes a major section on “narrative theology.”

Kohanski, Alexander S. An Analytical Interpretation of Martin Buber’s “I and Thou.” Woodbury, New York: Barron’s, 1975. A complete introduction to I and Thou. Includes an introduction and glossary.

Moore, Donald J. Martin Buber: Prophet of Religious Secularism. 2d ed. New York: Fordham University Press, 1996. Includes a biographical portrait of Buber and discussions of his “critique of religion.” Contains a bibliography and index.

Silberstein, Laurence J. Martin Buber’s Social and Religious Thought: Alienation and the Quest for Meaning. New York: New York University Press, 1989. Discussions of Buber’s religious thought as it relates to social imperatives. Includes notes, bibliography, and index.

Streiker, Lowell. The Promise of Buber. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1969. Discusses Buber’s philosophy of dialogue. Contains a suggested reading list of Buber’s works and an index.

Vermes, Pamela. Buber. Jewish Thinkers series/ New York: Grove Press, 1988. This volume provides a concise and well-informed introduction to Buber’s thought and works.