Martin Buber: Philosopher, Theologian, Prophet

Spring Quarter, 2019

Thursdays, 12:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

D. Martin Buber: Philosopher, Theologian, Prophet

Claire Sufrin, Associate Professor of Instruction, Religious StudiesGerman-

Jewish philosopher Martin Buber (1878-1965) is best known for his landmark book, I and Thou (1923), which describes two ways in which human beings relate to one another: I-It relationships, in which we treat others as objects for our own purposes; and I-Thou relationships, in which we are fully present before the other person. When Buber wrote this book, he was already well known for very different work including collections of Hasidic stories and essays about religion, history, and more. After I and Thou, his life’s work included translating the Bible into German and political activism in Germany, in Palestine, and after 1948, in the State of Israel. In this course, we will consider Buber’s life work in light of his biography and his historical context. We will examine the thinkers and movements who influenced him and look at those whom he influenced, including some who were deeply critical of his work. Throughout, we will consider what this 20th century thinker might have to say to us as we make our way in our own century.

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