100 years after its original publication, Martin Buber’s landmark work of philosophy and theology I and Thou remains one of the most important books of Western thought and a seminal work of 20th-century intellectual history.
Considered to be one of the most influential books of Western thought since its original publication in 1923, Martin Buber’s slender volume I and Thou influenced the way we think about our relationships with one another and with God. Buber unites currents of modern German philosophy with the Judeo-Christian tradition, powerfully updating faith for modern times.
I and Thou is Martin Buber’s pioneering work and the centerpiece of his groundbreaking philosophy. In it, Buber—one of the greatest Jewish minds of the 20th century—lays out a view of the world in which human beings can enter into relationships that enhance their mutual existential dignity (I–Thou relations). These “dialogical” relations contrast with those that tend to prevail in modern society, namely the treatment of others as objects to advance personal and collective interests (I–It relations). Buber demonstrates how I-Thou interhuman meetings reflect and embody the human meeting with God. For Buber, the essence of biblical religion affirms the possibility of a dialogue between man and God.
About the Author
Martin Buber (1878–1965) was a prolific author, scholar, literary translator, and political activist whose writings—mostly in German and Hebrew—ranged from Jewish mysticism to social philosophy, biblical studies, religious phenomenology, philosophical anthropology, education, politics, and art. Upon his emigration from Nazi Germany to Palestine in 1938, he assumed a professorship in social philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Until his death in Jerusalem, he was an unflagging advocate on Arab-Jewish fraternity and rapprochement. Buber was recurrently nominated for a Nobel Prize in literature and in Peace.
"In this time of social media and value conflicts of every kind, the hundredth anniversary of I and Thou comes at an opportune moment, laying out once again Buber’s heartfelt vision of the dialogical life. In lapidary prose, Buber eloquently exposes the deadening effect of self-referential attitudes on all our relations — with other people, with nature and even with God himself. This book is deeply spiritual and at the same time personal as it lucidly distinguishes the mere experience of “I–It” relations from the profoundly different and dynamic presence of the “I–Thou” encounter. It is utterly timely in its insistent call for openness and genuine meeting, which is precisely what’s missing in our contemporary lives and in our politics at every level." —JERRY BROWN, former 34th and 39th governor of California