Rehearing Buber's Jesus deepens Jewish-Christian dialogue.
--Martin Buber, The Origin and Meaning of Hasidism
For Martin Buber (1878-1965), Jesus was "a Jew to the core, in whom the Jewish desire for realization was concentrated and in whom it came to a breakthrough." (1) Buber took his stand in relation to Jesus "at that point in the midst of the events reported in the New Testament where the 'Christian' branches off from the 'Jewish'." (2) Drawing a boundary line between the faith of Israel and Hellenistic Christianity, between the Synoptic Gospels and Paul's Letters, Buber distinguished the actual, historical Jesus, raised in the genuine Jewish tradition of Urjudentum--an unquenchable quest for a spontaneous, intimate, passionate relationship with God--from the later Christian theological image of the Christ, the Logos, who becomes the "way" to God. (3) Buber held that Christian teaching "has turned the meaning and the ground of Jesus upside down," asserting that "[t]herefore I mean to and will fight for Jesus and against Christianity." (4) As part of this project, Buber located manifestations of Jesus' inborn nobility in "the plain, concrete and situation-bound dialogicism [Dialogik] of the original man of the Bible [urbiblischen Menschen], who found eternity, not in the supertemporal spirit, but in the depth of the actual moment." (5) It is no wonder, then, that for Buber the "high faith" and "fervent devotion" of human wholeness (der volkommene Mensch) (6) came to realization in moments of situation-specific dialogic encounters.
The irony of Buber's attempt to situate a dialogic Jesus in relation to Jewish tradition is that his statements about Jesus were met with vehement resistance by both Christians and Jews. For some Jews, Buber spoke too positively about Jesus and deviated too much from the teachings of the ancient rabbis; for some Christians, Buber spoke too negatively about Jesus, especially when he described the Gnostic nature of Paul's Christ of faith and the mystical nature of John's Jesus as the preexistent Logos. As will be shown, however, Buber did not intend to view Jesus as either traditional Christianity or traditional Jewish theology has understood him. (7) Instead, Buber's work helps us identify four dialogic refractions of Jesus' unified soul. Jesus is figured as son, relating with his whole being intimately and immediately to bis father; as teacher, announcing and living the redemptive necessity of turning and trusting; as leader, challenging disciples to follow God as the way-determiner who goes on ahead of Israel; and as servant, asking disciples for a personal response to being God-anointed. Each refraction of Jesus' indivisible wholeness, according to Buber, expresses itself in the unified soul of his living voice.
Before elaborating more clearly on how these aspects of Jesus illuminate Buber's thoroughly Jewish message, Messianic self-consciousness, and thus his relationship with God, it is important to speak briefly about his textual hermeneutics. Buber's interpretive practice engages scriptural texts both scientifically and experientially in a hermeneutics of retrieval meant to offer a method for encountering the genuine spokenness of Jesus' voice. After discussing Buber's hermeneutical practices and considering his particular views of Jesus' groundedness in Jewish tradition, I will discuss the relevance of Buber's dialogic thought to interfaith encounters. Looking through a Buberian lens, it becomes clear that the very "dialogicism" that enspirits Jesus also offers a "key" for reinvigorating interreligious conversations, especially between Jews and Christians.
On Buber's second visit to America in 1957, after his well-known encounter with Carl Rogers at the University of Michigan, he met with a group of scholars--including Reinhold Niebuhr, James Muilenberg, Joseph Campbell, Walter Kaufmann, Malcolm Diamond, and Michael Wyschogrod--for a seminar in biblical faith at Columbia University. While discussing his interpretation of several scriptural verses, especially ones from the Christian Bible, Buber remarked that the passage in Mt. 11:12-13 did not seem genuine to him. "Since the days of John the Baptist," this verse reads, "men have tried to take the Kingdom of Heaven by violence," but Jesus speaks of John as the "Elijah who is to come." "I don't hear the voice of Jesus in it," Buber said of this verse. When asked "Why not?" Buber replied, "It is merely my own subjective feeling." At this, the distinguished Protestant biblical scholar Muilenberg, who had recognized Buber as a profoundly authentic exponent of Jewish life and scriptures, became red in the face. He pounded on the table, saying, "That's pure subjectivity!" One can almost hear the wry smile in Buber's calm reply, "I told you so." Of course, as Maurice Friedman has written, Buber's remark "was not sheer subjectivity really--he really did hear a voice speaking." (8)
Buber's response to Muilenberg may surprise readers who are familiar with his dialogical philosophy and who wonder why he would seem to speak so nondialogically. Was Buber suggesting that his response was based on an inner awareness or inclination rather than a dialogue with the text? If that is the case, his remark would contradict everything he had written about the self-reinforcing limitations of individual feelings and private knowledge. Buber's response to Muilenberg, however, was not a clever exercise of subjectivity; instead, it expressed a dialogic conversation with the text wholly dependent on the reader's willingness to suspend presuppositions and judgments. Though indirect and elusive, Buber's rejoinder was grounded in a fundamental distinction between inauthentic and authentic subjectivity, between I-It relation (Ich-Es Verhaltnis) and I-Thou relationship (Ich-Du Beziehung). (9) When one analyzes, judges, divides, and observes texts as objects, the kind of subjectivity expressed refers to what Buber called "reflexion" (Ruckbiegung), bending back on one's self." (10) Composed of rhetorical devices and frozen ideas, the text under this monologically subjective gaze becomes relegated to the content of one's self-experience. In contrast to pure subjectivity, in which the text can mean anything one wants it to mean, Buber held that the text's stand in the world addresses and challenges the reader's stand in the world. As a result of this interaction among life stands, meaning-embodied responses emerge. (11)
For this reason, Buber was never fundamentally concerned with tracing philological minutiae, historical criticism, or authorial intent when he sought to determine the authentic "Jesus material" in the Christian Scriptures. Rather, the goal of biblical criticism, for Buber, was to uncover the "tradition which we may regard legitimately as being near to the historical events"; it should help us to "penetrate ... beneath the layers of different redactions of tradition and their tendencies." (12) Biblical criticism should also "separate the early from the late here, and then advance, as far as possible, from the reworking of tradition to what may be presumed to be tradition, orally preserved." (13) How is it possible, though, to penetrate through layers of redaction and dogmatic interpellation to recover what Buber called "the original word in the mystery of [biblical] spokenness (Gesprochenheit)"? (14)
Scripture, Buber argued, must be approached with the respectful, open-minded attitude of the receptive beholder (emfangend Schauender) who is willing to surrender individual separateness to a reciprocal relationship with the text as a personable Thou. Opening one's self to scripture without reservation occurs when it is read as if encountered for the first time, as if one believes (or disbelieves) nothing a priori, as if one is newly placed before the word. That is, to become aware of the text meant for Buber much the same as what it means to become aware of a person: to experience the other as a unique whole by making the other present (Fergegenwartigung). In that sense, readers "do not know what speech, what image in the book will take hold of them and recast them, from what place the spirit will surge up and pass into them, so as to embody itself anew in their lives; but they are open." (15) Of course, being open-minded and fully receptive to a text does not mean necessarily or automatically agreeing with its messages. What matters is not whether we agree or disagree with what we read but, rather, that "whenever we truly read [scripture], our self-understanding is renewed and deepened" (16) by being challenged, questioned, and directed.
Unmistakably, then, the most important principle that guided Buber's scriptural hermeneutic was his insistence that scripture "speaks" meaningfully to the receptive reader. In a distinctly clear example of this principle, discussing the unique sonship of Jesus, Buber wrote: "I hear different voices in Mark 10:18 and John 14:6, and I stick to the former rather than the latter speaker. I believe I have reason to trust my hearing eyes, those 'opened' by God [Psalm 40:7, Isaiah 50:5]; how could I do otherwise?" (17) By joining the senses of sight and sound together here, Buber highlighted the importance of reading words aloud so that the tone, tenor, innuendo, and rhythms of the speaking voice can shape the way meanings are discerned. As a result, one does not simply decipher clues from frozen letters. Rather, Buber reheard "the one voice.., that speaks to my ear out of a series of undoubtedly genuine sayings" (18) so that "those personal words ... merge for me into a unity whose speaker becomes visible to me." (19) When the passion, insight, and action of the text's voice encounters, challenges, and elicits meaningful responses from the reader's passion, insight, and action, a dialogic interpretation occurs. How Buber came to know Jesus "from within, in the impulses and stirrings of his [Buber's] Jewish being" (20) and how he articulated the Jewish Jesus in a way that may still open fresh interfaith pathways for Jews and Christians is the subject of the remainder of this essay.
Jesus as Son
Who speaks when Jesus addresses the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob as "my father"? The "I" of Jesus, in Buber's view, is the "I" who speaks in direct, relational solidarity with immanent others and therefore with God. Jesus, for Buber, is formed by his life relationships of exclusive immediacy with his father, the Present One who "gives [Godself] to be seen in the phenomena of nature and history, and [yet] remains invisible." (21) Ontologically and historically, Buber's Jesus encounters God unconditionally as the son in everyday dialogical relationships. The dynamic context of the relationship among Jesus, others, and God reflects the "basic doctrine which fills the Hebrew Bible," the teaching "that our life is a dialogue between the above and the below." (22) For Buber, Jesus' God is the nearest One, the always-ready, supreme dialogical partner who addresses Jesus by standing directly and lastingly with him in each moment. (23) Jesus, in other words, stands in and is formed by a uniquely genuine dialogue with God.
In the 1923 lyrical classic I and Thou, Buber offered three historical exemplars of "genuine dialogue": Goethe, who related genuinely to nature; Socrates, who entered deeply into dialogue with humans; and Jesus, who dedicated himself to the supreme dialogical partner, the "eternal Thou." With Goethe, with Socrates, and with Jesus, the saying of "I" embodies the purely "personal," with scarcely a trace of "individuality" (Eigenwesen). In these three examples, in Buber's view, we meet with representatives of persons who became liberated from the constraints of self-concern in much of their work. Largely because God as "father" is at the heart of Jesus' ethical, spiritual, and devotional experiences, Buber depicted Jesus in the realm of unconditional relationship. Jesus' "saying of I," Buber wrote in I and Thou, is overpoweringly legitimate not because of who he is but because he spontaneously and naturally spoke to the other with unconditional openness, respect, and trust:
[H]ow powerful, even to being overpowering, and how legitimate [rechtmaissig], even to being self-evident [selbstverstandlich], is the saying of I by Jesus! For it is the I of unconditional relation [der unbedingten Beziehung] in which the man calls his Thou Father in such a way that he himself is simply Son, and nothing else but Son. Whenever he says I he can only mean the 1 of the holy primary word that has been raised for him into unconditional being. (24)
Since Jesus' speaking comes out of direct, intimate, relational solidarity, his uniqueness does not arise from personal power or inner strength but from the immediacy and unconditionality of being-himself-fully-relational. Nothing is added.
While Jesus stands as an exemplar of the possibility of genuine dialogue between mortal human beings, through Jesus, for Buber, we discover that "every man can say Thou and is then I, every man can say Father and is then Son." (25) Indeed, it is in the "greatest possible faithfulness [that] men become what they are, sons of God, by becoming what they are, brothers of their brothers." (26) Further, God actually waits to be able to say to every "human being what, ... in the Gospel according to the Hebrews, the Spirit said to Jesus when in baptism he raised him to sonship: 'My son, of all the prophets I waited for you to come, and in you I shall rest, for you are my repose.'" (27) The intimate relationship between God and Jesus models both God's relationship to every human being and figures the kinds of relationships that Buber held that human beings should share with one another. The sense that Jesus signaled these interpenetrating, dialogic reciprocities between heaven and earth and between persons led Buber to call the Gospel of John "the Gospel of pure relation." Interpreting Jn. 1:1 to mean "I am Thou and Thou art I," Buber wrote:
The Father and the Son, like in being--we may even say God and Man, like in being--are the indissolubly real pair, the two bearers of the primal relation, which from God to man is termed mission and command, from man to God looking and hearing, and between both is termed knowledge and love. In this relation, the Son, though the Father dwells and works in him, bows down before the 'greater' and prays to him. (28)
The son and father are totally separate in being yet are primally connected in the communal divine-human relationship.
One could object that Buber's use of philosophical language to describe Jesus' relationship to God abstracts and thus distorts the biblical image of sonship. Grete Schaeder, for instance, has observed that it may be disconcerting to Christians and to Jews to see Jesus in "a charismatic father-son relationship ... which operates in human nature at all times--just as creation, revelation, and redemption were for Buber processes that endure for all time." (29) While these reservations are understandable, they overlook the crucial relationality toward which Buber pointed elsewhere. In his less philosophical biblical commentary titled Two Types of Faith, for example--a work written during the siege of Jerusalem in the War of Liberation waged by the new State of Israel in 1948 "under the feeling of a commission" and concerned with the relation between Judaism and Christianity from the standpoint of the difference in their attitude to faith--Buber confessed an intensely personal relationship to Jesus:
From my youth onwards, I have found in Jesus my great brother [mein grosser Bruder]. That Christianity has regarded and does regard him as God and Saviour has always appeared to me a fact of the highest importance which, for his sake and my own, I must endeavour to understand.... My own fraternally open relationship to him has grown ever stronger and clearer, and to-day I see him more strongly and clearly than ever before. (30)
What did the biblical scholar, philosopher of religion, and Jewish humanist mean to indicate by this confession? For that matter, why did he use the overtly intimate word "brother" to express this respect?
Buber's affirmation of Jesus as his "great brother" (perhaps more accurately translated as "elder brother") surprised and even antagonized those conservative Jews for whom Jesus was little more than an itinerate preacher. The remark was attacked by both Jews and Christians as presumptuous, disparaging, or overly familiar. Buber, for his part, refused to withdraw or modify his statement. (31) He neither hyperlatively praised Jesus nor superficially personalized him. Indeed, Buber never intended the phrase "great brother"--with "great" annoying traditional Jews and "brother" annoying some Christians--to imply a hyperlative elevation of Jesus' character. In fact, as Buber once remarked, "There are no great men, only useful ones," (32) ones whose presence is meaningful in the lives of others. The word "great," or "elder," for Buber, refers to a respected family member who, though spatially and temporally distant, remains present in one's heart and mind. Jesus becomes a relative one looks up to and from whom one learns how to become more fully human--a relative who, like a brother, could well be sitting at one's own table. This metaphor, importantly, signals the genuine Jewish biblical covenant of unconditional love and respect and openness toward all whom one meets as well as toward the "eternal Thou." (33)
Another example of Buber's nonphilosophical description of Jesus occurs in his discussion of Jesus' prayer life, which, Buber argued, expressed "a new and different kind of immediacy" with God as the father grounded in the Jewish tradition. The great achievement of the genuinely Jewish tradition, Buber wrote, is not only "that it taught the one real God, who is the origin and goal of all being, but" also "that it pointed out that this God can be addressed." (34) Further, God always responds concretely, through all of creation, since God is forever "enduring in ... the life of each creature as dialogue." (35) Like the ancestors and prophets of Israel, when he prayed, Jesus entered into the immediacy of dialogue with God.
Indeed, the closeness of this immediacy is recorded in Mt. 6:8 where Jesus says, in what Buber called a genuine and entirely personal tone that repeatedly catches one by surprise, "for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." In this verse, Jesus used the Aramaic familial terra Abba (translated here as "Father"), a practice that was not yet found in the rabbinic literature and that was not, therefore, entirely Jewish. The close relationship between father and son implicit in the word Abba, for Buber, constitutes Jesus' contribution to the Jewish tradition of dialogue. This spirit of familial love is echoed in Dt. 6:4, where it is written that, through "love of the whole heart, the whole soul and the whole might of the being," Jesus came into solidarity with God. (36) In this regard, it is reasonable to underscore Buber's implication that Jesus prayed dialogically. That is, not only did he personally speak to God, bur he also listened for God's reply; God not only replied in private moments but also in public events through human words that quickened his heart.
Buber found a distinctly clear example of Jesus' living dialogue with God in the "Our Father" prayer, which, if not formulated by Jesus, is at least characteristic of him, and which "takes place in the immediacy and for the sake of the increase of the immediacy." (37) In Luke's Gospel (11:1), when a disciple asks Jesus, on behalf of the rest of the disciples, to teach them to pray "as John taught his disciples," Jesus teaches them to pray to the father who is always listening and responding. (38) Though this prayer is comprised of phrases and sentences from already extant Jewish prayers, it is unique, according to Buber, because of its simplicity of form. It lacks the extended invocations giving homage to God that characterize Jewish liturgical and literary prayer. The initial petitions--"hallowed be thy name," "thy kingdom come," and "thy will be done"--are introductory invocations and glorifications in keeping with Jewish tradition. Like John the Baptist, who proclaimed "a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins" (Mk. 1:4), Jesus taught his disciples to pray by turning with the entirety of their souls toward the nearness of God as father.
When praying to the father, Jesus prayed to the God of Abraham, Moses, and the Prophets, the God who, according to Buber, loves and wishes to be loved. Buber wrote, "In every sphere in its own way, through each process of becoming that is present to us, we look out toward the fringe of the eternal Thou; in each we are aware of a breath from the eternal Thou; in each Thou we address the eternal Thou." (39) Jesus' "Our Father" takes place in the immediacy of this moment's full presence with and for others, and in the intimacy of the father-son relationship. Accordingly, when Jesus called God "Father," he was addressing the God who, as an expression of unconditional love, takes on the form of "absolute Person." By drawing attention to God's Personhood, Buber pointed to a dynamic, reciprocal partnership between God and humankind. This dynamic is evident in the Gospels where God penetrates the unique occasions of Jesus' life in creative, revealing, and redeeming acts that shape him with their "instruction, message, demand." (40)
Jesus as Teacher
Buber's portrait of the Jewish roots of Jesus' teaching embodies the vital lineage of the biblical faith of Moses and the Prophets and of a type of postbiblical Pharisaic piety. However little we know about the life of Jesus, his message and activity indicate to Buber that Jesus was an authentic teacher of the immediacy of God's realm. That this holds true for Jesus is due to his spontaneous and traceless transmission of "total, living, Jewish humanity." (41) For this reason, Buber recognized in Jesus, as be also recognized in Buddha and Lao-tzu, the "fulfilling" person, the one who is the "teaching," who embodies the living revelation handed down from former generations. Expressing the biblical hokhma ("unity of teaching and life") as opposed to the Greek sophia ("a closed realm of thought, knowledge for its own sake"), Jesus' teaching, according to Buber, is "inseparably bound up with doing." (42) Whatever may be said about the content of Jesus' teaching and practice, Buber indicated that Jesus teaches the reformatio that intends "to return to the original purity of the revelation." (43)
Buber began his Two Types of Faith straightforwardly with the Markan narrative (9:14-29) of a meeting between Jesus and a father who is desperately seeking a cure for his son. In what Buber took to be a text authentically expressing the Jewish grounding of Jesus' work as a teacher, a young boy, possessed by a demon, has been brought by his father to Jesus' disciples. They "were not able" to heal him, and so the father takes his son to Jesus to see if he "might be able" to help. Jesus, in response to the father's request for help, replies that "all things are possible to him that believes." According to Buber, Jesus' reply, following a pattern established in the Hebrew Bible, is based on two key phrases: "to believe" and "to be able." The interrelationship between "believing" and "being able" was important for Buber because it helps us to distinguish between the faith of Jesus and the faith of the others, including the disciples and the father. Since the disciples' faith is not sufficient to effect the boy's cure, we must assume that something particular about the faith of Jesus encouraged the father to bring the boy to him. What sets Jesus' faith apart, for Buber, was not a difference of degree, strength, intensity, attitude, or conviction, but "a difference which extends to the ultimate depths of the reality concerned in such a way that only the faith which Jesus knows as his own may be called faith in the strict sense." (44)
The father's reply to Jesus underscores the difference between these two types of faith. "I believe," the father informs Jesus, but then he implores him to "help my unbelief!" The difference between Jesus' belief and the father's unbelief is accentuated by the fact that the living faith of Hebrew Patriarchs and Prophets is not, according to Buber, the prerogative of Jesus alone, but is accessible to all persons. This true faith, however, entails entering "an actual relationship which essentially transcends the world of the person." Accordingly, it embodies and expresses a double character. It is active in the sense that a "person ... has entered into His realm" and is receptive in the sense that this person has in turn "been taken into the realm of God." (45) Jesus' way of teaching--his interhuman pedagogy--springs from his being dialogically possessed by the power of God, from acting "in God's tempo."
In light of the encounter between Jesus and the possessed boy's father, Buber suggested that "[t]he motive power of Jesus' message is the ancient Jewish demand for the unconditioned decision," a decision that transforms beliefs and behaviors and "lifts [one] into the divine realm." (46) This decision requires directing one's life to God--a consecration of the whole person--and constitutes a response to recognizing that the voice of God is already speaking in the present. Further, it calls upon individuals to enact their faith in the immediacy of dialogue. According to Buber, what Jesus "calls the kingdom of God--no matter how tinged with a sense of the world's end and of miraculous transformation it may be--is no other-world consolation, no vague heavenly bliss." (47) Rather, it is the immediacy of genuine dialogical encounter. Therefore, Buber wrote, God's kingdom "cannot not have meant the 'Kingdom of Heaven' in the sense of 'another world.'" (48)
Buber based his understanding of Jesus as a teacher of and through genuine dialogue on his examination, throughout Two Types of Faith, of those sayings of Jesus that he considered most likely to be genuine. The verse that conveys Jesus' first words in the Gospel of Mark sets the tone for Buber's understanding: "The appointed time has come and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent [metanoia], and believe in the Good News" (Mk. 1:15). Since Jesus used the Hebrew and Aramaic idiom of the time and not the Greek of the Christian Scriptures, Buber argued that this earliest teaching of Jesus more literally runs as follows: "The appointed time is fulfilled and God's rule has come near. / Turn (teshuva) and trust (emunah) in the message." Turning with one's whole being toward God and trusting unconditionally in God's message of redemption are actions that demand and condition each other. In Buber's view, the kind of turning to which Jesus here refers was erroneously translated in the Christian Bible such that the fully dialogical implication of the passage was undermined: "Teshuva, turning of the whole person, in the sphere of the world ... has been reduced unavoidably to a 'change of mind', to metanoia, by the Greek translator--and Emunah, trust, resulting from an original relationship to the Godhead, which has been likewise modified in the translation to 'belief,' as the recognition that something is true, i.e. rendered by pistis." (49) In the narrative, the possessed boy's father refers to faith as a mental attitude. The fuller faith, the belief to accompany this frame of mind, which the father requires, is teshuva, a turning toward relationship by and with the whole person.
For Buber, therefore, there were two forms of faith: (1) faith as unconditional trust in God (emunah), identified with biblical and Pharisaic Judaism and the teachings of Jesus, and (2) faith as a decisive belief in a proposition (pistis), identified with Greek thought and Paul's teaching. Emunah is a relationship of trust that depends upon an unconditional contact between God and God's people; pistis is a relationship that involves acknowledging and accepting that something is true. (50) As with Buber's other ideal types (such as I-Thou and I-It, devotio and gnosis, and prophetic and apocalyptic), in practice these types of faith are mixed, and they extend their roots into one another. Emunah, exemplified in the early period of Israel's history, refers to a relational event that has occurred and continues to produce effects, while pistis, exemplified in the early period of Christian history, refers to the kind of understanding that converts the mind to propositional belief.
Two Types of Faith
Relational Trust: Emunah
The relationship of faith as trust in involves a total contact with the undemonstrably Present One in whom I trust.
Expressed in and through turning with one's entire being toward God and persisting in the covenant of God's guidance
Primarily originates in Israel's communal experiences as a total life response
Secondarily can lead to the affirmation of a decisive life truth
Propositional Faith: Pistis
The relationship of faith as belief that involves the acceptance of an undemonstrable proposition that I acknowledge to be true.
Expressed in and through a decisive act of conversion of one's entire being by believing that Christ atone brings salvation
Primarily originates in the converted individual soul as a total life affirmation
Secondarily can lead to contact with what is proclaimed to be true
Jesus' call to the people of Israel to turn again toward God's creating, revealing, and redeeming activity reflects the primary word of the Prophets (Jer. 31:18), especially after the collapse (Zech. 13; Mal. 3:7): "tuna back to me and I will turn again to you." The call to trust in God does not occur for Jesus, or for the people of the original covenant, "in a decision made at one definite moment." Rather, it occurs in "the actual totality of [one's] relationships, not only towards God, bur also to [one's] appointed sphere in the world and to [oneself]." (51) This form of trust in the God who both is and will be intimately present "is the form in which Pharisaic Judaism by its doctrine of the middot renewed the Old Testament Emunah, the great trust in God as He is, in God be He as He may." (52) Thus, when Jesus speaks of faith he does not speak of the specific content of a proposition. Rather, immersed in Judaic tradition, Jesus' faith is the interdynamic act of turning and trusting with the whole person.
What is ever new about Jesus, for Buber, is his holistic living-teaching of God's ever-present immediacy and intimacy. Both Jesus and the Prophets insist on faith's realization in the totality of life. Whereas the Prophets foresaw God's rule in the indefinite future, Jesus proclaimed that God's rulership was drawing near; indeed, it was already becoming present yet remained hidden in our midst, waiting for us to turn toward it. Buber writes that while Jesus' teaching is "fundamentally related to that critical process within Judaism," at "one decisive point [his teaching] stands out against it." (53) In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, "You shall therefore be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt. 5:48), while the Hebrew Bible's commandment reads, "You shall be holy, for I am holy" (Lev. 11:44, 19:2, 20:7).
Jesus' new eschatological radicalism can be seen, according to Buber, by comparing the words and teachings of Jesus with those of Isaiah. Each, in a similar way, demands not faith in God, which listeners of both men already possessed, "but its realization in the totality of life, and especially when the promise arises from amidst catastrophe and so particularly points towards the drawing near of God's kingdom." Isaiah, however, "looks to" the realization of this realm as pointing to "a still indefinite future," while Jesus looks primarily toward the present. (54) Herein, for Buber, lay the chief difference between them. In Jesus' eschatology of the dialogical present, "nothing separate or partial stirs in the man any more, thus he makes no intervention in the world; it is the whole man, enclosed and at rest in his wholeness, that is effective--he has become an effective whole." (55) This apprehension and modeling of dialogical turning is, for Buber, at the core of Jesus' teaching.
Jesus as Leader
Unlike the existing rabbinical schools of the time, in which a pupil chose to subordinate himself to a master in order to learn the art of interpreting the Mosaic Law, Jesus called his disciples into a living community with him. Moreover, unlike John's disciples, who were called to an ascetic life, Jesus called his followers to the special task not only of receiving the message of the coming realm but also of living it and transmitting it to others. Insofar as Jesus demonstrates authentic personal and social humanity in dialogue with God, Buber's vision of Jesus underscores his place in Jewish tradition as a religious leader.
Buber distinguished five different kinds--or "ideal types"--of biblical leaders. These ideal types follow a chronological development in response to changing stages in the history of the Israelites. The Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) initiated a movement toward peoplehood and were characterized by their ability to sustain a direct relationship to Elohim. The Leader (Moses) founded a nation and embodied the living center of a covenantal community. The Judges (such as Gideon) helped to redirect the people back to their relationship to Elohim in periods of chaos and lawlessness. The Kings (including David) are anointed to help bring the rulership of God into reality in response to the demands of a people. Further, the Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Amos) are appointed to call the King and the people back into dialogue with God. (56) All of these biblical leaders commit their lives to God's dialogue with the world, allow themselves to be led, and accept the "responsibility for that which is entrusted to them ... with the free will of their own being, in the 'autonomy' of their person." (57)
These forms of leadership spanning from Abraham to Jeremiah represent diverse manifestations of a God-directed life. For Buber, they suggested an implicitly designated sixth type: the dialogical leader. Biblical leaders, he wrote, "are the foreshadowings of the dialogical [person], of the [person] who commits [one's] whole being to God's dialogue with the world, and who stands firm throughout this dialogue." (58) Like those biblical leaders to whom Buber referred, Jesus is one whose life was absorbed in dialogue with God and with those he encountered daily. Embodying this inclusive relation to being, Jesus responded to God's I-Thou address by unreservedly engaging a "situation-bound dialogicism."
This spirit of dialogue infuses Jesus' charismatic mandate: "Follow me." In light of the transformational fire that Jesus' teaching kindled in his disciples, Buber suggested that Jesus' "me" here refers neither to himself nor to a body of doctrine. Instead, his mandate refers to the example of his life-transfiguring relationship with God. Largely because "Jesus speaks from the being and consciousness of the man who has 'abandoned himself," (59) when he says "Follow me," Jesus means to follow the "way" that he himself follows. For Jesus, following God means entering into lifelong service of the imageless One who leads people to the redemptive realm of peace. Buber illustrated this religious-historical dimension of Jesus' (and Israel's) faith by noting that Israel designates JHWH "as melekh, that is, as the one who goes on ahead of the wandering people," who is "in the mature state ... venerated ... as the proclaimed world-ruler of heaven and earth." (60)
So powerful, so life-transforming is this God walking-on-before who calls for an unconditional reciprocity between leader and led that the Patriarch and the Prophet are revered as Israel's melekh, its way-determiner. For the Pharisees, to realize the historical revelation of the Word brought to Israel, it was necessary to practice lishmah (heart-direction). According to Jesus, by contrast, it was necessary to return to the original purity of the revelation that draws near when the truly faithful turn toward God's creation. Like the covenant between Moses and YHWH and between Moses and the Israelites, the leadership of Jesus "institutes sacramentally a reciprocity between the One above and one below." (61) This sacramental relationship between Jesus and God and between Jesus and his disciples brought every dimension of life--the social, economical, political, familial--under God's rulership.
For this reason, the path that Jesus asks his disciples to follow involves the prerequisite of personal sacrifice. In one narrative, a young man who has kept the commandments throughout his life steps out from the crowd to question Jesus about the way to eternal life. "Sell everything," Jesus replies, and "Come, follow me." For Buber, Jesus' reply means that this young man "is to be concerned now, in the perihelium of grace, to hold on to nothing, to allow nothing else to prevent him from meeting it, but to become free for storming the rule of God as he does who goes before and whom one ought to follow." (62) In Mk. 1:7, Mt. 11:12, and Mk. 8:34, what Jesus requires of those who follow him, according to Buber, is "'abandoning themselves', getting free of themselves, 'self' meant as the epitome of everything to which a [person] is attached; this is the proper expression for the surrender, to make one's self free." (63) The decision-provoking "Follow me" involves complete renunciation, and this renunciation brings one face-to-face with the reality that God's rulership is beginning here and now.
In Mk. 10:17 and following passages, a rich young seeker asks Jesus, "Good master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus' reply, Buber pointed out, begins with the words: "Why call me good? There is none good but God alone." God alone, Jesus was telling him, can provide the true answer to the question of eternal life. In response to the rich young man's question, Jesus answered with "entirely personal advice [to] give up everything to which thou holdest ... and follow me." (64) Jesus was not intending to complete God's instruction, Buber remarked, but rather to indicate that the young ruler only need grasp the original intention of God's commandments. In this narrative, for Buber, Jesus was modeling that faith-immediacy to God that he wanted his disciplines to enact, an immediacy of God's presence that would guide followers in their way. Rather than encouraging belief in himself, Jesus pointed to himself as an example of one who embodied the dialogic relationship with God, a relationship that can be cultivated by others and "is truly an instance ... of Emunah." (65)
Jesus as Servant
The dialogical disposition of Jesus becomes evident throughout his teaching in his desire to enact an ethos of intimacy and trust. After launching his public ministry, Jesus assembled his disciples and asked a point-blank question about his "self-understanding," about what his teaching, preaching, and healing activities amounted to: "Who do people say that I am?" (Mk. 8:27). This question contains within itself, at least implicitly, a more personally evocative one: Who do you say that I am? The implicit "you" in Jesus' question reaches out to the minds and hearts of his hearers in a way that grasps their attention, challenges their boundaries, and urges them to turn away from selfish concerns and toward the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, and the God of Jesus. It must be remembered that Jesus' question, asked in the context of the Jewish teaching style, does not seek an immediate or final answer. Instead, its openendedness invites hearers into the question in order to ponder it more fully and, in fact, to ask it of themselves. (66)
For Buber, Jesus' dialogical ethos was intimately related to his place as a Messianic leader, bearing responsibility for God's redemptive purpose as God's servant. Buber situates Jesus in the Messianic continuity of Jewish faith wherein, from generation to generation, "God's servants" suffer the world's failings and transfigure its imperfections. In his volumes of biblical interpretation, Kingship of God, Moses, Prophetic Faith, and Two Types of Faith, Buber traced the development of the Messianic idea from its early history with the Jewish people through Jesus and Paul. The trajectory of Buber's thought in these works follows the Jewish belief in the redemption of the world, which is grounded in a Messianic hope. The Messiah, the righteous one, is waiting "everywhere and at all times," in the midst of historic moments for the turning of the whole world toward God. In this tradition, the Messiah is at once a redeemer and a servant. Commenting on Buber's forty-year concern with Jesus' significance for Jewish Messianism, Friedman indicated that, for Buber, the "Messianic mystery is based on a real hiddenness which penetrates to the innermost existence and is essential to the servant's work of suffering." By "hiddenness," Friedman meant that "the Promised One, in his consciousness of himself ... dare not be anything other than a servant of the Lord." To become aware of himself as the Messiah would be to tear apart his hiddenness, as a result of which "not only would his work itself be destroyed but a counter-work would set in." (67)
Thus, Jesus' question to his disciplines raises the issue of whether Jesus was aware of his Messianic purpose throughout his ministry. Buber himself offered "no opinion as to whether one may suppose that Jesus 'did not attain to complete certainty about his appointment to the Messianic office until the end,'" holding that "the arguments for and against will presumably continue to be discussed as heretofore." (68) However, the assumption that Jesus should, in the Messianic tradition, remain unaware of his own Messianic purpose complicates his question to his disciples. When Jesus asks his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" in the Synoptics (Mk. 8:27, Mt. 16:13, Lk. 9:18), Peter's response is confident and faithful: "You are the 'anointed one'" (Mk. 8:29) or "God's anointed" (Lk. 9:20) or "the son of the living God" (Mt. 16:16). Jesus responds by warning his disciples not to tell anyone about him. For Buber, in this response, Jesus revealed himself as standing under the shadow of the Judaic "suffering servant of the Lord." Though "[w]e can scarcely surmise at what hour the germ of this motif came into the mind of Jesus," its effects permeate Jesus' sayings. (69) At the same time, Jesus' self-awareness of his Messianic purpose split him from mainstream Judaic faith.
Indeed, for Buber, Jesus came from a "series of 'servants of the Lord,' arising from generation to generation, who lowly and despised, bear and purify the uncleanness of the world." (70) As the world's self-appointed exile from God widened, the deeds of these servants in each generation, bearing a distinctive Messianic character, sank into inaccessible darkness. The servants themselves, however, await God's appointed hour, for "[t]he arrow in the quiver is not its own master; the moment at which it shall be drawn out is not for it to determine." The secret of Jesus' mission "is put by Jesus into the heart of the disciples--whose confession indeed confirms him in it." (71)
The Messianic mystery rests, therefore, not in secrecy but in "hiddenness reaching into the innermost existence." Those through whom the power of the Messianic mystery passes, Buber wrote, "are those of whom the nameless prophet speaks when he says, in the first person, that God sharpens them to a polished arrow and then conceals them in his quiver." (72) Remarking that hiddenness is essential to the work of suffering, Buber continued, "Each of them can be the fulfilling one; none of them in his self-knowledge may be anything other than a servant of the Lord." (73)
Seen in the context of the inseparable connection between authentic Judaism and the appearance of Jewish Messianic faith, the appearance of Jesus marks "the first in the series of men who, stepping out of the hiddenness of the servant of the Lord, the real 'Messianic mystery,' acknowledged their Messiahship in their souls and in their words." Buber continued, "Like the other 'servants' or arrows of God dwelling at one time or another 'in the darkness of the quiver,' Jesus too does not know without doubt whether he is destined to be taken out, to be shot; what is more, he does not even know without doubt whether he must not offer himself for that purpose if it should take place legitimately; and, according to Jewish teaching, to appear as 'Messiah son of Joseph' does indeed include martyrdom." (74) Buber claimed that "this first one in the series" of self-aware Messiahs "was incomparably the purest, the most legitimate, the most endowed with real Messianic power--as I experience ever again when those personal words that ring true to me merge for me into a unity whose speaker becomes visible to me" but that this "alters nothing in the fact of this firstness." (75)
Having indicated that Jesus stepped out of hiddenness and in some way acknowledged Messianic awareness in his soul, Buber turned to the dialogic heart of the matter for Jesus. "If now, in an hour in which the question ascends from its depths, he asks the men called 'disciples,' to whom he is directed for that purpose, who he is in their view ... and receives the answer that he receives, then there happens as a result of it just what happens, the 'pressing of the end,' and it happens in highest innocence." (76) Clearly, Buber did not question the sincerity of Jesus' motives. Whether he was destined to be "shot to the target" or should have remained hidden in the quiver, Jesus could not know for certain. However, for Buber, Jesus uniquely chose to reveal himself to a generation that was unprepared to fathom the depths of his sonship, his teaching, and his leadership.
Deepening Interfaith Encounters
Buber's narrative of the dialogic Jesus involves the decisive act of transforming the written word into the spoken. In "hearing" the living Jesus of the Gospels, Buber found Jesus to be a pivotal figure in religious history both because of his unconditional act of turning toward and trusting the One who is always Present and because he stands between Judaism and Christianity. Buber remarked therefore that any attempt at recovering Jesus' teaching led to an "unconscious colloquy with genuine Judaism." (77) Now, more than fifty years since Buber made that remark, and in the context of an increasingly interreligious landscape, it is appropriate, I believe, to speak of a conscious, though conflicted, colloquy between Jews and Christians. Buber himself often did. On the one hand, he firmly believed that "the Jewish community, in the course of its Renaissance, will recognize Jesus; and not merely as a great figure in its religious history, but also in the organic context of a Messianic development extending over millennia, whose final goal is the Redemption of Israel and the world." On the other hand, Buber continued, "I believe equally firmly that we will never recognize Jesus as the Messiah Come, for this would contradict the deepest meaning of our Messianic passion." (78)
This tension between and within believers and belief systems provides a spiritual rationale underlying Buber's approach to interreligious dialogue. Furthermore, Buber pointed to the value of bringing preliminary intrafaith reflections into interfaith conversations. This becomes clear, for instance, when he writes that "Jesus, to whom I feel close and allied in some respects, simply is not the Messiah to me as he is to you, because I am not at all capable of believing in a Messiah who already came so many years ago, because I have too profound a sense of the world's unredeemedness to be able to come to terms with the idea of a realized redemption, be it only a redemption of the 'soul."' (79) While hoping that open-minded, open-hearted dialogue between Jews and Christians was possible, Buber was often disappointed by participants' inability to overcome either apologetic or polemical modes of discourse. Addressing German Christians in Stuttgart in 1930, Buber maintained that the primary goal for Jews and Christians should be to participate in a "common watch for a unity to come to us from God." This "common watch" replaces creedal truths with the "ontological truth of heaven which is one." Acknowledging "the real relationship in which both [Christianity and Judaism] stand to the truth," Buber argued that interfaith dialogians should "hold inviolably fast to our own true faith" and at the same time "show a religious respect for the true faith of the other." Buber continued, "Whenever we both, Christian and Jew, care more for God himself than for our images of God, we are united in the feeling that our Father's house is differently constructed than our human models take it to be." (80)
By 1933, two weeks before Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany, in response to Buber's public dialogue with Karl Ludwig Schmidt (professor of the Christian Bible at the University of Bonn, and one of the founders of the form-critical method for scriptural analysis), Buber was becoming convinced that Jewish-Christian encounters would have to be conducted in a radically different fashion than had hitherto occurred. Aware that profoundly real differences exist between believers, Buber proposed metatheological guidelines to be taken into interfaith encounters. According to Paul Mendes-Flohr, Buber's guidelines are grounded in an "ontological relationalism": one spirit, which Christians call the Holy Spirit (pneuma hagion) and Jews call the Spirit of Holiness (ruach hakodesh), "wafts over our irresolvable differences, [and] though it does not bridge them, it nevertheless gives assurance of unity." (81)
Buber recognized significant differences between Jewish faith and Christian faith and held that they would most likely remain different until humans are "gathered in from the exiles of the 'religions' into the Kingship of God." Interfaith encounters between Jews (whose faith originates in the experiences of Israel) and Christians (whose faith originates in a decisive personal conversion), Buber hoped, would reach out toward as-of-yet unconceived outcomes. His final sentence in Two Types of Faith reads, "[A]n Israel striving after the renewal of its faith through the rebirth of the person and a Christianity striving for the renewal of its faith through the rebirth of nations would have something as yet unsaid to say to each other and a help to give to one another--hardly to be conceived at the present time." (82) Interfaith dialogue can flourish, Buber believed, if each participant ceases to view the other as a category or concept and instead encounters the other in genuine dialogue.
In light of these considerations, Mendes-Flohr has suggested that Buber's open-minded attitude "provides the key to a fuller dialogue between the contemporary Jew and Christian." (83) Certainly, Mendes-Flohr was aware that the definite article is methodologically problematic for today's reader. How can there be a single key to fuller dialogue? However, his use of the definite article correctly reflects Buber's understanding that interfaith dialogue involves finding and practicing what is essential. Although Mendes-Flohr did not elaborate upon his remark, "the key" that opens doors between Jews and Christians is, I believe, in the answer to the question of how we engage the conversation. For Buber, more than in the contents of the conversation itself, interfaith dialogue embodied basic interhuman principles characterizing Jesus' "dialogicism": "turning toward," "making present," and "responding responsibly." (84) These principles underlie and guide what Buber called his "central concern." In more than fifty years of writing and teaching, Buber came to realize again and again the inestimable significance of a two-directional reciprocity in human-human and human-divine dialogues. "If I myself should designate something as the 'central portion of my life work,' then it could not be anything individual, but only the one basic insight that has led me not only to the study of the Bible, as to the study of Hasidism, but also to an independent philosophical presentation: that the I-Thou relation to God and the I-Thou relation to one's fellow [human] are at bottom related to each other." (85) Applied to interfaith dialogue, Buber's insight that the voice of God's address occurs in the midst of present-moment encounters provides us with a key for renewing such encounters.
When practitioners turn wholly toward one another, the interactive dynamics of these encounters and the substance of the words spoken assume "the cadence of an inwardness" that stirs one's "heart of hearts." The encounter itself, for Buber, became transparent into the absolute. (86) From this culminating insight, Buber maintained that, if we are to affirm that it is "God" who speaks when we are addressed at the innermost core of our being, then it is necessary "to forget everything we imagined we knew of God," (87) to "keep nothing handed down or learned or self-contrived." "If we name the speaker of this speech God, then it is always the God of a moment, a moment God." (88) That is, when interfaith dialogians genuinely turn toward one another, willingly listen attentively, and respond responsibly to one another, "there arises for us with a single identity the Lord of the voice, the One." (89)
Because the divine voice addresses us in and through every genuine interhuman engagement, Buber held that "[t]he word of [one] who wishes to speak with [persons] without speaking with God is not fulfilled; but the word of [one] who wishes to speak with God without speaking with [persons] goes astray." (90) In event-upon-event, happening-upon-happening, when the words of others stand out for us as instruction, message, and demand, God's penetrating address challenges us to take a responsible stand in the world. In interfaith dialogues, for example, when there is neither awareness of time's passing nor of things outside of the conversation that need attention, the core of one's being is addressed with a challenge, a possibility, a question. Though I may not fully respond to this challenge and question in the moment, what is manifested in the encounter stays with me, deepens, and then returns later in detached memory to further shape my stand in the world.
It is clear, therefore, that interfaith dialogue, for Buber, was irreducible to intellectual activities (such as those that dominate dialectical exchanges and debate) and that it did not depend on sophisticated knowledge or astute articulation. Buber instead exemplified his more constructive descriptions of interfaith exchanges with a personal anecdote. On Easter of 1914, Buber met at Potsdam with men from various European countries in order to discuss possible ways of responding to the conditions that would produce World War I. Buber noted that conversations among them were "marked by that unreserve, whose substance and fruitfulness I have scarcely ever experienced so strongly." In the midst of the discussion, one of the participants, a former minister named Florens Christian Rang, objected that too many Jews had been nominated to serve on several committees, which he believed would create an unbalanced representation. Obstinate Jew that Buber was, he raised a counter-protest during which he came to say that "we Jews knew him from within, in the impulses and stirrings of his Jewish being, in a way that remains inaccessible ... to you [Christians]." At this, first Rang, then Buber stood up. For an intense moment of silence, each looked into the other's eyes. "It is gone," Rang suddenly said. Before everyone they gave each other the kiss of brotherhood. Looking back on this encounter, Buber remarked that "the situation between Jews and Christians had been transformed into a bond between the Christian and the Jew. In this transformation dialogue was fulfilled. Opinions were gone, in a bodily way the factual took place." (91)
Brought into the context of interfaith encounters, Buber's nonhalakhic, non-christological understanding of the Jewish Jesus can reinvigorate and deepen interfaith encounters by challenging practicing Jews and practicing Christians to break free of self-referential conventions and to become more authentically engaged with each other by listening to each other. Though Jews and Christians finally and necessarily disagree about the identity of Jesus, each tradition can attest that Jesus embodies, exemplifies, and teaches a dialogic relationship to God, one that cannot be divorced from a person's encounter with others. Buber would argue, of course, that whatever preconceived sensibilities, or prejudices, dialogians may bring to their encounter should, at least temporarily, be bracketed. Think of what might become possible if in place of these agendas practitioners of Jewish-Christian dialogue discussed their specific responses to Buber's Jesus, especially to his stance that genuine dialogue is not one of many attributes of living faithfully, but its very core. Not surprisingly, Buber's hope, as it is also the hope of this Baptist-Buddhist-Benedictine Catholic and Hasidically influenced author, is that honest dialogue will continue to become sacramentally reconciling and mutually transforming among people of faith. Exactly in these moments, it is possible for us to hear the Voice of the one who "speaks in the guise of everything that happens, ... makes demands ... and summons [us] to accept [our] responsibility." (92)
(1) Martin Buber, On Judaism, ed. Nahum N. Glatzer, early addresses tr. Eva Jospe (New York: Schocken Books, 1967), p. 122.
(2) Martin Buber, Two Types of Faith, tr. Norman P. Goldhawk (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, and New York: Macmillan, 1951; repr., New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1961; repr. with Afterword by David Flusser, tr. Petra Kamecke, as part of the Martin Buber Library [Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2003] [orig.: Zwei Glaubensweisen (1950)]), p. 34. Buber confined himself "principally to the primitive and early days of Christianity, and for that almost exclusively to the New Testament records on the one hand, and on the other side in the main to the sayings of the Talmud and the Midrashim, originating from the core of Pharisaism, which was to be sure influenced by Hellenism bur which did not surrender to it; I draw on Hellenistic Judaism only for purposes of clarification" (Buber, Foreword, Two Types of Faith, p. 11).
(3) Martin Buber, The Origin and Meaning of Hasidism, ed. and tr. Maurice Friedman, The Temple Library (New York: Harper Torchbooks [orig., Horizon Press], 1960), p. 92. Buber placed Jesus together with the Prophets and the nonhypercritical wing of the Pharisees. John Meier has observed: "The historical Jesus [the picture of Jesus that one can reconstruct through modern historical methodology] is not the real Jesus. The real Jesus [as be was actually experienced by his contemporaries] is not the historical Jesus" (John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, vol. 1, The Roots of the Problem and the Person [New York: Doubleday, 1991], vol. 1, p. 21). The historical Jesus is "only a fragmentary hypothetical reconstruction of him by modern means of research" (Meier, A Marginal Jew, vol. 1, p. 31). For Buber, the real Jesus is neither limited to nor separate from the historical Jesus. The real Jesus speaks in and through his living voice that addresses Buber directly and elicits meaningful responses from him.
(4) Martin Buber to Franz Werfel (Match 17, 1917) in Nahum N. Glatzer and Paul Mendes-Flohr, sel. and eds., The Letters of Martin Buber: A Life of Dialogue, tr. Richard anal Clara Winston anal Harry Zohn (New York: Schocken Books, 1991 [based on three-vol, orig.: Grete Schaeder, ed., Martin Buber: Briefwechsel aus sieben Jahrzehnten (Heidelberg: Verlag Lambert Schneider, 1972, 1973, 1975)]), p. 214.
(5) Buber, Two Types of Faith, p. 34. By "original" (ur), Buber meant genuine, real, authentic; by "dialogicism" (Dialogik, making a noun out of an interaction), be referred to the address-response interengagement among persons across ethnic, cultural, and religious boundaries through which, because of responsible reciprocity, each can sense the eternal Voice that can be heard in every genuine encounter.
(6) Martin Buber, Hasidism and Modern Man, ed. and tr. Maurice Friedman (New York: Horizon Press, 1958), p. 51. Buber stated that the never-final, never-completely-achieved "unification of the soul would be thoroughly misunderstood if 'soul' were taken to mean anything but the whole [person], body and spirit together. The soul is not really united, unless all bodily energies, all the limbs of the body, are united" (Martin Buber, The Way of Man: According to the Teaching of Hasidism [Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press, 1966 (orig E.T.: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1950)], p. 25).
(7) Buber's understanding of the Jewish Jesus has been the subject of much criticism: Hans Urs von Balthasar argued that Buber's interpretation of Jesus ignored the historical line of development from prophesy to the idea of the "Son of Man"; Emil Brunner viewed Buber's Two Types of Faith as a major attack on Christianity; Karl Thieme argued that Buber's major distinction between two "types of faith" should rather occur between "times of faith"; Eugen Rosenstoek-Huessy critiqued Buber's anti-Paulinian rhetoric; Ernst Simon critiqued Buber's failure to embrace Jewish Law; and Buber's old friend Rudolph Pannwitz attacked what be called Buber's 'subjectivist theology.' In contrast to Buber's Jesus, Pannwitz put forth a "Founder Christ" who produced his own sacrificial death. It is not within the scope of this essay to respond carefully to these and other views, some of which present persuasive arguments and valuable comments on Buber's writing. For a further discussion of Buber's work, see Paul Arthur Schilpp and Maurice Friedman, eds., The Philosophy of Martin Buber, The Library of Living Philosophers (La Salle, IL: Open Court, 1967) (especially its essays by Emil Brunner, "Judaism and Christianity in Buber," pp. 309-319; Max Brod, "Judaism and Christianity in the Work of Martin Buber," pp. 319-340; and Hans Urs von Balthasar, "Martin Buber and Christianity," pp. 341-359); and Grete Schaeder, The Hebrew Humanism of Martin Buber (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1973), pp. 406-410. See also Maurice Friedman, Martin Buber's Life and Work, vol. 3, The Later Years, 1945-1965 (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1983), chap. 4, "Two Types of Faith: Jesus and Paul," pp. 83-101; David Novak, Jewish-Christian Dialogue: A Jewish Justification (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), pp. 80-92.
(8) Maurice Friedman, Intercultural Dialogue and the Human Image, ed. S. C. Malik and Pat Boni (New Delhi: Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, 1995), p. 262. Elaborating further, Friedman wrote: "When Martin Buber came to my house for dinner on my thirtieth birthday, he said 'I do hear the voice of certain people speaking to me'. I think Plato was one, and the other was Jesus. 'But I don't mean anything psychic or telepathic by that--nonetheless a living voice.'" Friedman added: "Now that's nothing one can turn into a methodology" (Friedman, Intercultural Dialogue, p. 262).
(9) In compatible terms, Buber distinguished between inauthentic, one-sided, partial experience (Erfahrung) and authentic, relational, living experience (Erlebnis). Erfahrung refers to perceiving the phenomenal world through sensations and concepts in order to analyze or classify. Erlebnis refers to deeper experience, to affective, immediate realization of the noumenal or nonrational world grasped in its own splendor.
(10) Martin Buber, Between Man and Man, tr. Ronald Gregor Smith, intro. Maurice Friedman (New York: Macmillan, 1965), p. 23.
(11) In keeping with this emphasis, Steven Kepnes suggested that Buber's hermeneutical method involves four dialogically oriented stages: (1) reading the text as a "Thou" (a uniquely whole other) by making the text present to one's self through receiving its words as if spoken by the speaker in one's presence; (2) entering into active give-and-take dialogues with the text's voice in which its otherness reflects back the reader's own historical and cultural presuppositions; (3) using interpretive methods "to analyze the structure and rhetoric of the text"; and (4) discovering and responding to links between textual insights and personal life in a fruitful reciprocity that exists between the reader's understanding and the textual voice (Steven Kepnes, The Text as Thou: Martin Buber's Dialogical Hermeneutics and Narrative Theology [Bloomington and Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press, 1992], p. 78). Kepnes argued accordingly that in Buber's thought the words spoken by God, the written word of scripture, and the word of interpretation, when pieced together, form a linguistic continuum. What holds the continuum together, I believe--indeed, what generates each of these elements--is the dialogic principle itself: existence as dialogically grounded; language as dialogically created; and self as dialogically constructed.
(12) Martin Buber, The Prophetic Faith, tr. Carlyle Witton-Davies (New York: Macmillan, 1949 [orig.: Hebrew, 1942]), pp. 6-7.
(13) Martin Buber, Moses: The Revelation and the Covenant, The Temple Library (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1958 [orig., 1946 as Moses]), p. 8.
(14) Martin Buber, "Biblical Humanism," tr. Michael A. Meyer, in Nahum N. Glatzer, ed., On the Bible: Eighteen Studies by Martin Buber (New York: Schocken Books, 1968), p. 214. Harold Bloom, in his introduction to the 1982 edition, indicates that Buber's biblical writings "were not intended as scholarship ... and, as such, are likely to survive Buber's writings on Hasidism or his more direct presentations of his own spiritual stance" (Harold Bloom, "Introduction," in Glatzer, On the Bible , p. ix). Bloom suggests that "[t]here is something impressively hyperbolical about Buber's emphasis, which is a kind of sublime trope of the thematics of his entire life and work.... Yet, I would call Buber's vehement rhetoric and its effect here his greatest strength as a literary critic of the Bible. As criticism, Buber's figurative, hyperbolical language does the work of breaking down our preconceived response and restores the strangeness of the Bible" (Bloom, "Introduction," p. xxv, emphasis in original).
(15) Martin Buber, "People Today and the Jewish Bible," in Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig, Scripture and Translation, tr. Lawrence Rosenwald and Everett Fox, Indiana Studies in Biblical Literature (Bloomington and Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press, 1994 [orig.: (1936)]), p. 7. The first part of this essay is translated by Olga Marx as "The Man of Today and the Jewish Bible," in Martin Buber, Israel and the World. Essays in a Time of Crisis, 2nd ed. (New York: Schocken Books, 1963 list ed., 1948]), pp. 89-102. Its origin is a series of lectured delivered in 1926 and published as Die Schrift und ihre Verdeutschung (Berlin: Schocken Verlag, 1936), pp. 13-31. By "people today," Buber means "'intellectuals,' people to whom it seems important that there be intellectual goods and values" (Buber and Rosenzweig, Scripture and Translation, p. 5).
(16) Buber, On Judaism, p. 216.
(17) Martin Buber to Karl Thieme (October 10, 1949) in Glatzer and Mendes-Flohr, Letters, p. 545; emphasis mine.
(18) Buber, Origin and Meaning of Hasidism, p. 247.
(19) Ibid., p. 110. In Martin Buber, "Dialogue" (1929), in Buber, Between Man and Man, pp. 1-39, Buber indicated that Jews know Jesus from within the stirrings of their Jewish souls and that his relation to Jesus continued to be close to his heart. Friedman commented that "individual sayings of Jesus had entered so deeply into his heart that he sensed unmistakably the genuineness of the speaking man, whose powerful speech stirred him" (Friedman, Martin Buber's Life and Work, vol 3, p. 87).
(20) Buber, Between Man and Man, p. 5.
(21) Buber, Two Types of Faith, p. 130.
(22) Martin Buber, At The Turning. Three Addresses on Judaism (New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1952), p. 48.
(23) In the postscript to Martin Buber, 1 and Thou, tr. Ronald Gregor Smith, 2nd ed. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1958 [orig., Ich und Du (1923)]), Buber wrote that God's speaking penetrates through every genuine interhuman relationship. Jesus' conversations with God and God's conversations with Jesus happen therefore not only alongside the everyday but also in his lived reality (Buber, land Thou, pp. 136-137).
(24) Ibid., pp. 66-67; emphases in original. By "Thou" (Du) Buber is not referring to God but to the familiar form of "you" as the one standing in my presence. By "primary word" (Grundwort), Buber does not mean an intellectual self-expression, but a relational speaking in which "the speaker enters the word and takes his [or her] stand in it" (Buber, I and Thou, p. 4). According to Friedman, the primary word--I-Thou--"is not an object, but a relationship" (Kenneth P. Kramer, Martin Buber's I and Thou: Practicmg Living Dialogue [New York: Paulist Press, 2003], p. 15).
(25) Buber, I and Thou, 67; emphases in original.
(26) Buber, Two Types of Faith, p. 75.
(27) Martin Buber to Franz Werfel (March 17, 1917) in Glatzer and Mendes-Flohr, Letters, pp. 213-214.
(28) Buber, I and Thou, p. 85. The phrase "like in being," rather than signifying the homeostasis of God and Jesus, signifies instead "primal relationship."
(29) Schaeder, Hebrew Humanism, p. 395.
(30) Buber, Foreword, Two Types of Faith, p. 12.
(31) Clearly, according to Buber, Jesus cannot be understood within traditional Jewish theological categories. David Novak wrote that, by juxtaposing Jesus and himself as brothers, the one neither above nor subordinate to the other, Buber rejected "the 'usual categories' for understanding Jesus" (Jewish-Christian Dialogue, p. 81).
(32) Kramer, Martin Buber's I and Thou, p. 5.
(33) In response to a friend's affirmation that Jesus "is a help in all need," Buber wrote that he believed, as did Jesus, that "God is the help in all need," and thus, he said, "I do not believe in Jesus, but I do believe with him" (Martin Buber to Lina Lewy [February 4, 1943] in Glatzer and Mendes-Flohr, Letters, p. 499); emphases in original.
(34) Buber, Origm and Meaning of Hasidism, p. 91.
(35) Ibid. Friedman wrote: "When one has given serious consideration to Buber's Biblical exegesis, one is no longer tempted to fall into the easy assumption that Buber has read his dialogical philosophy into his interpretation of Biblical Judaism. It becomes clear instead that it is precisely in the Bible itself that Buber's dialogical philosophy finds its most solid base" (Maurice S. Friedman, Martin Buber: The Life of Dialogue [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955], p. 257).
(36) See Buber, Two Types of Faith, p. 131. Rudolf Bultmann suggested that the "view of God as Father was in fact current in Judaism, and God was addressed as Father both by the praying congregation and by individuals" (Rudolf Bultmann, Jesus and the Word, tr. Louise Pettibone Smith and Erminie Huntress Lantero [New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1934], p. 191).
(37) Buber, Two Types of Faith, p. 159. According to Buber, commenting on the Genesis verse, God's name given in Ex. 3:13-15--Ehyeh asher Ehyeh--means "I shall be," and "I am present," and "I shall be present" (Glatzer, On the Bible, pp. 54 and 60). What God said in response to Moses, then, was: "I am present as the one who is fully and unconditionally present."
(38) The Lord's Prayer contrasts with Paul's belief (Rom. 8:26; 2 Cor. 12:7 ff.) that we do not know how to pray to God in a "fitting" manner.
(39) Buber, I and Thou, p. 101 ; emphases in original.
(40) Ibid., p. 136. The wholly Other, to whom Jesus is intimately related as father, who speaks as the "eternal Thou," is the One who is "most nearly and lastingly" with us, who can never become an It, and who cannot be expressed, only addressed and responded to. The "eternal Thou," for Buber, is simultaneously "wholly other" (Mysterium Tremendum), beyond all attempts to know, describe, or compare, and the "absolute Person," who penetrates biographical and historical events and calls dialogical partners to take a stand and make a decision. As "absolute Person," God's eternal presence draws near and is refracted through every genuine relationship. In a remarkably revealing comment, Buber stated that, in order to enter into relationship with humans, "God has put on himself 'the servant's garment of the person'" (Maurice S. Friedman, "Interrogation of Martin Buber," in Sidney and Beatrice Rome, eds. and intro., Philosophical Interrogations: Interrogations of Martin Buber, John Wild, Jean Wahl, Brand Blanshard, Paul Weiss, Charles Hartshorne, Paul Tillich [New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1964], p. 91).
(41) Martin Buber, "Teaching and Deed," tr. Olga Marx (address delivered at the Lehrhaus in Frankfort/M. in 1934 and published in Die Stunde und die Erkenntnis [Berlin: Schocken Verlag, 1936], pp. 61-73), in Buber, Israel and the World, p. 139.
(42) Ibid., p. 140.
(43) Buber, Two Types of Faith, p. 99.
(44) Ibid., p. 18.
(45) Ibid., p. 21.
(46) Buber, On Judaism, p. 70.
(47) Ibid., p. 122.
(48) He continued, "shamayim, Heaven, was at that time one of the paraphrases for the name of God" (Martin Buber, "The Faith of Judaism," tr. Greta Hort [originally a lecture in 1928 for an institute of political science in Reichenhall and later delivered in Kiel at the Weltwirtschafliches Institut; published in Kampfum Israel (Berlin: Schocken Verlag, 1933), pp. 28-49], in Buber, Israel and the World, p. 21).
(49) Buber, Two Types of Faith, p. 26. Buber's understanding of "trust" and "turning" drew largely from his studies of Hasidism and its interpretation of the central terms of Judaism. The Hasidic tradition sees God's glory as dwelling in every living thing. Buber used the Hebrew term "teshuvah" to indicate the action necessary to restore harmony to the world
(50) See Buber, Foreword, Two Types of Faith, p. 11. Buber, in order to clarify his treatment of the two types of faith, wrote, "When I treat the two types of faith frequently as that of the Jews and that of the Christians I do not mean to imply that Jews in general and Christians in general believed thus and still believe, but only that the one faith has found its representative actuality among Jews and the other among Christians" (Buber, Foreword, Two Types of Faith, p. 11).
(51) Buber, Two Types of Faith, p. 40.
(52) Ibid., p. 154.
(53) Ibid., p. 59
(54) Ibid., p. 29.
(55) Buber, I and Thou, p. 77.
(56) Martin Buber, "Biblical Leadership," tr. Greta Hort (originally a lecture delivered in 1928 in Munich; published in Kampf um Israel, pp. 136-140), in Buber, Israel and the World, pp. 127-131.
(57) Ibid., p. 132.
(58) Ibid., pp. 131-132. Referring to eighteenth-century Eastern European, spirit-oriented communities, Buber pointed to the Zaddiek as exemplifying the "pure idea" of the "genuine leader," the "perfected [person] who realizes God in the world" (Buber, Hasidism and Modern Man, p. 67). Buber continued that the Zaddikim, and by analogy Jesus, "hourly measures the depths of responsibility with the sounding lead of his words. He speaks--and knows that his speech is destiny" (Buber, Hasidism and Modern Man, p. 68). People bring their needs to Jesus, desiring his teaching, his help, his healing, and it is precisely in this way that the Zaddikim, and Jesus, become "the conveyor to the divine sparks" (Buber, Hasidism and Modern Man, p. 69).
(59) Buber, Two Types of Faith, pp. 95-96.
(60) Martin Buber, Kingship of God, tr. Richard Scheimann (New York: Humanity Books; New York and Evanston, IL: Harper & Row, 1967 [orig.: Konigtum Gottes, 3rd Ger. ed. (Heidelberg: Lambert Schneider, 1956; 1st ed., 1932)]), p. 52.
(61) Ibid., p. 123; emphasis in original. More specifically, in this context Buber formulates the first-century Jews' life problem as: How does one transition from an apparent life in God's revelation to the true life in it? Whereas for the Pharisees, the historical revelation of the Word has been brought into the tradition of Israel, it was still necessary to practice lishmah--heart-direction. According to Jesus, however, Israel has not adequately preserved the historical revelation, "the undefaced purpose of the Revealer as that which had been made known to him" (Buber, Two Types of Faith, p. 94). Returning to the original purity of the revelation involves, for Jesus, the realm's drawing near in and through the power of turning wholly toward the created order. Jesus' answer to the biblical, Jewish life problem is: Follow me and you will discover the true meaning of God's revelation.
(62) Buber, Two Types of Faith, p. 95.
(64) Ibid., p. 115.
(65) Ibid., p. 116. It is necessary, of course, to cut away mind-forged perceptions of God, what Buber calls in his "Interrogation," our "passionate devotion to a fantasy image that one regards as God" (Friedman, "Interrogation of Martin Buber," p. 81).
(66) It may very well have been that Jesus' question was not asked to elicit an immediate answer but, rather, to take his hearers into the depths of their souls where their own answers could begin to take shape. Elie Wiesel has noted that "[a] rebbe is someone who shares his questions with you. But then, if they are articulated with enough sincerity, the questions become answers, or at least they become a beginning of an answer" (Elie Wiesel, Against Silence: The Voice and Vision of Elie Wiesel, sel. and ed. Irving Abrabamson [New York: Holocaust Library, 1985], vol. 3, p. 297).
(67) Friedman, Martin Buber, p. 276.
(68) Buber, Two Types of Faith, p. 31.
(69) Ibid., p. 107.
(70) Buber, Origin and Meaning of Hasidism, p. 108. According to Bultmann, "there was a whole succession of prophets who, according to the account of Josephus, 'behaving as if they were chosen by God, caused disturbances and revolutions and drove the people insane with their oratory, and enticed them into the desert, as if God might there announce to them the miracle of their deliverance'" (Bultmann, Jesus and the Word, p. 22).
(71) Buber, Two Types of Faith, p. 107. Buber visualized the Messianic office in light of the Hebrew Bible where both the preexilic form of the king and the exilic form of the prophetic servant share the fact that the Messiah steps forth from the crowd and is at the same time "chosen" by God (Dt. 17:15; Is. 42:1).
(72) Buber, Origin and Meaning of Hasidism, p. 109.
(74) Ibid., pp. 250-251.
(75) Ibid., p. 110.
(76) Ibid., p. 251. Dan Avnon wrote that '"to hurry the end' is a Jewish idiom that refers to human attempts to intervene in historical events in a manner that would bring closer the advent of the Messianic era" (Dan Avnon, Martin Buber: The Hidden Dialogue [Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998], p. 104). Avnon suggested that "Jesus' inaccurate intervention in history led to an effect that was the diametric opposite of his intention" (Avnon, Martin Buber, p. 105) and that "[i]n an ironic twist, Jesus' premature emergence from the quiver gave rise to a belief system that propagated the very duality that he--as a human being, not as the image transmitted in apparent history--sought to overcome" (Avnon, Martin Buber, p. 106).
(77) Buber, Foreword, Two Types of Faith, p. 12. For an instructive version of Jewish-Christian dialogue, see Karl Rahner and Pinchas Lapide, Encountering Jesus--Encountering Judaism: A Dialogue, tr. Davis Perkins (New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1987 [orig.: Heil van den Juden? Ein Gesprach (Mainz: Matthias-Granewald-Verlag, 1983)]).
(78) Quoted in Friedman, Martin Buber, p. 279, from Ernst Simon, "Martin Buber: His Way between Thought and Deed," Jewish Frontier 15 (February, 1948): 26.
(79) Martin Buber to Lina Lewy (February 4, 1943) in Glatzer and Mendes-Flohr, Letters, p. 498.
(80) Martin Buber, "The Two Foci of the Jewish Soul," tr. Greta Hort (address delivered before an institute held by the four German-language missions to Jews in 1930 in Stuttgart; published in Kampfum Israel, pp. 50-67), in Buber, Israel and the World, p. 40. Krister Stendahl, when speaking about dialogue between Jews and Christians, as if echoing Buber's insistence that such dialogues be viewed from God's perspective, wrote that "in the eyes of God we are all minorities" and that finally, in "Paul's vision of the end in 1 Corinthians 15 ... it was God who subjected all things to Christ, but ... in the end, Christ is himself subjected to God, so that God will become panta enpassim: 'all in all'" (Krister Stendahl, "From God's Perspective We Are All Minorities," Explorations (American Interfaith Institute and World Alliance of Interfaith Organizations, Philadelphia), vol. 12, no. 1 (1998), p. 6.
(81) Buber's response to Schmidt is quoted in Paul Mendes-Flohr, Divided Passions: Jewish Intellectuals and the Experience of Modernity (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1991), p. 155. Of course, Buber's ontological unity in the Spirit does not reconcile irresolvable differences, nor does it suggest that each faith community holds to the same essence. Rather, each community stands animated by its own teachings.
(82) Buber, Two Types of Faith, p. 174. Along with Bultmann, Albert Schweitzer, and Rudolph Otto, Buber singled out Leonhard Ragaz for special acknowledgment. Of Ragaz, Buber wrote admiringly, "He looked forward to a future understanding between the nucleal community of Israel and a true community of Jesus, an understanding, although as yet inconceivable, which would arise on neither a Jewish nor a Christian basis, but rather on that of the common message of Jesus and the prophets of the turning of man and of the Kingship of God" (Buber, Foreword, Two Types of Faith, p. 15).
(83) Paul Mendes-FIohr, untitled review of two books (The Unfinished Dialogue and The New Encounter between Christians and Jews) by John M. Oesterreicher, The Journal of Religion, vol. 69, no. 1 (1989), p. 117.
(84) By "interhuman" (das Zwischenmenschliche), Buber referred to the interactive region between persons in a genuine relationship. The "interhuman" is the spirit of "the between" through which a person can glimpse the "eternal Thou." At least four elements describe this interhuman dynamic: turning truthfully, without reserve, toward who or what encounters me; making the other present by coexperiencing, as much as possible what the other is thinking, feeling, sensing, and including this awareness in my response; receiving the other as a partner through genuine listening, both to what is said and what is unsaid; and confirming my partner by accepting and affirming him or her without necessarily agreeing with everything that is said (Martin Buber, The Knowledge of Man, ed. and intro. Maurice Friedman, tr. Maurice Friedman and Ronald Gregor-Smith [London: George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1965], pp. 85-86).
(85) Friedman, "Interrogation of Martin Buber," p. 99. In the postscript to land Thou, Buber identified his "most essential concern" as "the close connexion of the relation to God with the relation to one's fellow-man" (Buber, I and Thou, pp. 123-124). The close connection (Verbundenheit) between these dialogues can be understood as the unconditional, mutual embracing, and inclusive reciprocity of deep bonding.
(86) Buber, Between Man and Man, p. 17.
(87) Ibid., pp. 14-15.
(88) Ibid., p. 15.
(90) Ibid. Mendes-Flohr indicated that, for Buber, "God's voice is actually neither sounded orally nor heard aurally; it is rather refracted through an 'event' that 'addresses' us." Rather than providing specific content, God's presence confirms situation-specific meaning that "beckons" one to make a dialogically responsible response "for the specifics of that situation" (Mendes-Flohr, Divided Passions, p. 268).
(91) Buber, Between Man and Man, p. 6. Speaking of Rang, Buber recalled what Rang once said about the most difficult time in his life: "'I should not have survived if I had not had Christ'. Christ, not God!" Buber's response indicates remarkable open-mindedness: "I see in all this an important testimony to the salvation which has come to the Gentiles through faith in Christ: they have found a God Who did not fail in times when their world collapsed" (Buber, Two Types of Faith, p. 132).
(92) Martin Buber, "The Prejudices of Youth," tr. Olga Marx (from a speech delivered in 1937 in Prague; published in Worte an die Jugend [Berlin: Bucherei des Sehocken Verlages, 1938], pp. 74-86), in Buber, Israel and the World, p. 51.
Kenneth Paul Kramer (Baptist/Benedictine Catholic/Buddhist/Buberian Jewish) is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religious Studies at San Jose (CA) State University, where he taught from 1978 to 2001. He holds a B.A. from Temple University, Philadelphia; a B.D. from Andover Newton Theological School, Newton, MA; an S.T.M from Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT; and a Ph.D. (1971) in religion and culture from Temple University. Most recent of his five books are Redeeming Time: T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets (Cowley Publications, 2007); Martin Buber's I AND THOU: Practicing Living Dialogue (Paulist Press, 2003); and Death Dreams: Unveiling Mysteries of the Unconscious Mind (Paulist Press, 1993). He has published some two dozen articles in the last quarter-century in professional journals (including in J.E.S. in 1993). His "Rehearing Buber's Jesus: Son, Teacher, Leader, Servant," will be a chapter in a forthcoming book of essays taken from papers presented at the "The Jesus Seminar," an international convention hosted by the Society of Biblical Literature in New Zealand in 2008. His reviews have appeared in J.E.S. and other major journals, and he has presented papers at numerous professional meetings throughout the U.S. His major fields of interest in recent years are religion and psychology (especially death and dying), religion and literature, and comparative religions.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||Martin Buber|
|Author:||Kramer, Kenneth P.|
|Publication:||Journal of Ecumenical Studies|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2009|
|Previous Article:||Heinz Galinski: the driving force of the postwar Jewish community in Germany.|
|Next Article:||Hans Frei's typology of Christian Theology: a comparative look at the Islamic tradition.|