Martin Buber: The Life of Dialogue

Martin Buber: The Life of Dialogue

Martin Buber: The Life of Dialogue

Martin Buber: The Life of Dialogue


Martin Buber: The Life of Dialogue, the first study in any language to provide a complete overview of Buber's thought, remains the definitive guide to the full range of his work and the starting point for all modern Buber scholarship. Maurice S. Friedman reveals the implications of Buber's thought for theory of knowledge, education, philosophy, myth, history and Judaic and Christian belief.This fully revised and expanded fourth edition includes a new preface by the author, an expanded bibliography incorporating new Buber scholarship, and two new appendices in the form of essays on Buber's influence on Emmanuel Levinas and Mikhail Bakhtin.


At the time of its publication, The Life of Dialogue was the first comprehensive and systematic study of Buber's thought in any language; Walter Goldstein's four-volume Die Botschaft Martin Bubers was begun earlier than my book but completed later.

When I first encountered Martin Buber in 1944, only two of his works were in English translation, both published only in England: I and Thou and an early, inadequate translation of The Legend of the Baal-Shem. Today, more than forty-five years after the original publication of The Life of Dialogue, around forty of Buber's works have been published in English translation, the number in America far exceeding that in England. All of these, with the exception of Martin Buber and the Theater and On the Bible, have been printed in paperback; For the Sake of Heaven in the Atheneum paperback edition was printed, unfortunately, without the important foreword that Buber wrote for the second edition.

In my preface to the original and to the second edition of The Life of Dialogue I wrote, 'In treating a thinker whom many have criticized before understanding, my aim, first of all, has been to understand.' The most important exception to this statement was Hans Kohn's intellectual biography Martin Buber Sein Werk und Seine Zeit, first published in 1930 and reprinted in 1961, with a long introductory essay by Robert Weltsch. My remark was particularly aimed, in fact, at the relatively sparse number of commentaries on Buber's thought in English. Since the original publication of The Life of Dialogue a spate of books about


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