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I and Thou (Continuum Impacts) [Paperback]

Martin Buber
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Oct 2004 Continuum Impacts

'The publication of Martin Buber's I and Thou was a great event in the religious life of the West.' Reinhold Niebuhr

Martin Buber (1897-19) was a prolific and influential teacher and writer, who taught philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem from 1939 to 1951. Having studied philosophy and art at the universities of Vienna, Zurich and Berlin, he became an active Zionist and was closely involved in the revival of Hasidism.

Recognised as a landmark of twentieth century intellectual history, I and Thou is Buber's masterpiece. In this book, his enormous learning and wisdom are distilled into a simple, but compelling vision. It proposes nothing less than a new form of the Deity for today, a new form of human being and of a good life. In so doing, it addresses all religious and social dimensions of the human personality.

Translated by Ronald Gregor Smith

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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum; New Ed edition (1 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826476937
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826476937
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 321,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Martin Buber was born in Vienna in 1879. He studied philosophy and art at the universities in Vienna, Zurich and Berlin. In this twenties he was an active Zionist and worked closely with Theodor Herzl and Chaim Weizmann. Martin Buber is also well known for his revival of Hasidism, a mystical movement that swept East European Jewry in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A prolific and influential teacher and writer, he taught philosophy from 1939 to 1951 at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
160 of 161 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life is about relating 16 April 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book by an eminent Jewish thinker,was first published before World War 11 and became one of the most influential books of the 20th Century.It could be described as 'religious philosophy', but it is certainly not philosophy in the conventional sense i.e. it is not a closely-reasoned argument. Indeed, it reads more like a poem in prose and needs to be read accordingly. If read slowly and with time to ponder the meaning, it yields up its treasure and is a deeply rewarding book.
Buber sees all human life as being lived in relation to the world around us: the world of things and of people. He identifies two kinds of relation: I-It and I-Thou. In general we relate to things in fhe I-It mode. Things are objects of our preception, to be observed or used etc. They are "objects" for us as "subjects." Our relation with other people is usually like this like this, sometimes inevitably e.g. the bus driver when we are a passenger; sometimes wrongly, as when we exploit people and use them for our own ends. However, we become fully human when we enter into the I-Thou mode with other people - relating to them as person to person. This is true meeting and, says, Buber, "All real living is meeting."
Love exists between people as an I-Thou meeting. "The man who does not know this, does not know love", says Buber, and he goes on to give a moving and profound account of what love really is.The I-Thou relation is also possible with other living things: a tree and his pet cat are cited as examples! God is the Eternal Thou and we can meet him only in the I-Thou mode. God can never be "It"; always "Thou". He meets us as Thou and is present in every thou.
The I-Thou relation cannot be planned or contrived. It simply happens, but only as we are open to it as possibility.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not always easy but brilliant for all that 4 Nov 2009
By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have worked as a professional counsellor for many years and I also lecture in the subject at one of our local colleges. I had a very personal view on the nature of the I and Thou relationship referred to in the title of this book. However when I read this small volume I realised that I really had a much better feeling for the whole concept. This is really a great book to buy and read and then re-read many times over, especially if you work as a person centred or experiential counsellor/psychotherapist. Highly recommended; buy it now!Person to Person : The Problem of Being Human
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars extraordinary little book 17 Jun 2010
Format:Paperback
Buber book is deceptively deep. It ultimately posits consciousness as intersubjectively constructed and therefore echoes Heidegger's premise of being-in-the-world-with-others as the dominant feature of human-like beings (Dasein). However Buber clearly has a more elevated conception of what it is to be truly human which is spiritually and ethically aspirational. I-Thou as an idealised way of relating/meeting/encountering another is where the qualitative nature of the 'inbetween' is what is crucial to the way that we experience others. A great book for anyone inspired by the qualitative importance on many levels of human to human relationships.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love the book 24 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book really powerful stuff..deeply thought provoking..and quite transformational. I keep coming back to this concept, I will definately reread this book
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not much to add 26 Nov 2006
Format:Paperback
the previous review has had unanimous praise and for a good reason - he communicates the heart of this short book very well. What surprised me with this book is the resonances I felt it had with philosophy from seemingly unrelated areas. I am thinking of Lukacs and indeed that strain marxism which is concerned with overcoming the "reification" or the objectification of people (as subjects). This chimes with the "I-thou" desire to treat people as ends-in-themselves as opposed to means, "its", towards extra-personal aims. From this perspective it is even quite an anarchistic - critiquing notions of "progress" which abstract from the personal here-and-now meeting.

Highly Recommended.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it 29 Mar 2009
Format:Paperback
A wonderful book - but as clear as mud at times. Buber's religious and spiritual perspectives underpin this book and it absolutely radiates humanity in a way few books have ever managed.

I differ from Buber on so many theoretical points but these go out of the window - this book is an experience before it is a narrative.

Inspiring stuff.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and challenging 4 April 2014
Verified Purchase
I have been wanting to read this seminal work of 20th centrury thought for a long time, and have finally got around to it. It is certainly a challenge--and intriguing too. The thesis is straightforward enough: we have two modes of interacting with the world.One, which he calls "I--It", "experiences and uses". The other, which he calls "I--Thou", is a higher function. In this mode, we enter into a living relation. Furthermore, in every "I--Thou" encounter, one can sense the presence of something divine standing behind it. In other words, God reveals Himself to us through our relationships. As Buber expands on his thesis, it gets deep and dark. I found parts of the early section a bit opaque. But I soldiered bravely on. I am glad I did. I came across passages that were wonderfully illuminating. There were some brilliant single lines, too. This is a book to go back to, after a suitable interval.

Quote:
"For actually there is a cosmos for man only when the universe becomes his home, with its holy hearth whereon he offers sacrifice; there is Eros for man only when beings become for him pictures of the eternal, and community is revealed along with them; and there is logos for man only when he addresses the mystery with work and service for the spirit."
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