The last two years in the religious book field, it's been like Old MacDonald's farm, with here a Buber, there a Buber, everywhere a Buber, Buber. There is a good reason for this. Martin Buber is practically the only religious writer a non-religious person could take seriously today. Paul Tillich probably runs him a close second, but Tillich is too much a technical theologian for secular, let alone atheist, taste. Yet Buber is one of the most important living theologians. I should say that the determinative theological works of this century have been Schweitzer Quest of the Historical Jesus, Otto The Idea of the Holy, Barth Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, and, to go back to the very beginning of the century, a selection, difficult to make, from the works of Baron von Hugel and Father Tyrrell, and, conversely, from the work of their opponents, the Neo-Thomists, before Neo-Thomism became a fad with French journalists and spoiled Surrealists. Towards the top of this list belongs Buber I and Thou, one of the most moving books ever written.
I and Thou is a little book, a true pocket book, a vade mecum, to go with you on your way, like The Little Flowers of St. Francis, or Angelus Silesius, or The Imitation of Christ, or the Bhagavad-Gita, or Carus' Gospel of Buddha--"vade mecum . . ." and I imagine it has gone with many a person on many a strange and tortured way. After all, it is a book by a German Jew. I read it, long ago, in French on the recommendation of--of all people--Hugh MacDiarmid, and it was one of the determinative books of my life. For twenty years I have given away copies of the paperbound Scottish edition to____________________
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Publication information: Book title: World outside the Window:The Selected Essays of Kenneth Rexroth. Contributors: Bradford Morrow - Editor, Kenneth Rexroth - Author. Publisher: New Directions. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1987. Page number: 77.
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