Cover image for The first Buber : youthful Zionist writings of Martin Buber
The first Buber : youthful Zionist writings of Martin Buber
Buber, Martin, 1878-1965.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Works. Selections. English. 1999
First edition.
Publication Information:
Syracuse, N.Y. : Syracuse University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xxvii, 226 pages : portrait ; 24 cm.
Added Author:
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PT2603.U15 A273 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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As a college student Martin Buber was a leader in the early Zionist movement. During the period between 1898 and 1902 he published a series of Zionist writings that were clearly meant to be confrontational and challenge those who embraced traditional Judaism.

Author Notes

Martin Buber was born in Vienna, the son of Solomon Buber, a scholar of Midrashic and medieval literature. Martin Buber studied at the universities of Vienna, Leipzig, Zurich, and Berlin, under Wilhelm Dilthey and Georg Simmel. As a young student, he joined the Zionist movement, advocating the renewal of Jewish culture as opposed to Theodor Herzl's political Zionism. At age 26 he became interested in Hasidic thought and translated the tales of Nahman of Bratslav.

Hasidism had a profound impact on Buber's thought. He credited it as being the inspiration for his theories of spirituality, community, and dialogue. Buber is responsible for bringing Hasidism to the attention of young German intellectuals who previously had scorned it as the product of ignorant eastern European Jewish peasants.

Buber also wrote about utopian socialism, education, Zionism, and respect for the Palestinian Arabs, and, with Franz Rosenzweig, he translated the Bible. He was appointed to a professorship at the University of Frankfurt in 1925, but, when the Nazis came to power, he received an appointment at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Buber died in 1965.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Schmidt (Martin Buber's Formative Years: From German Culture to Jewish Renewal, 1898-1909) breaks important ground with these first English translations of seminal Jewish thinker Buber's early Zionist poems, essays, and speeches (written between 1898 and 1909). The work published here exceeds all expectations, showing the foundations not only of Buber's theoretical but also of his practical thought. Here we can see, in their earliest forms, his ideas about Hebrew humanism, his methods of logic, and his early, clear adherence to Theodore Herzl's ideas. (Both of them strove to reeducate the nation and preached that each Jew must overcome the Diaspora mentality to become a free builder of the land of Israel.) A wonderful translator, Schmidt has done an excellent job with difficult texts. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries and Jewish institutions.ÄHayim Y. Sheynin, Gratz Coll. Lib., Melrose Park, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Martin Buber (1878-1965), the German-Jewish religious philosopher, is well known for his interest in Hasidism, mysticism, and for his most famous work I and Thou, which rejects the idea of a mystical union between humans and God and depicts instead an encounter that preserves each party's separate existence. Here Gilya Schmidt (Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville) presents in English for the first time his earliest and less well known writings, on Zionism, composed between 1898 and 1902. Schmidt organizes these writings--primarily short articles and poems--chronologically and offers brief explanatory introductions and notes as well as a substantial introduction to Buber's Zionist thought overall. Where Buber revised an article for publication in two different settings, Schmidt presents the two versions synoptically, an approach that, like the chronological presentation, helps communicate both the nuances and development of Buber's emerging thought on this topic. The result is a lively and engaging collection that reveals a great deal about both the nascent Zionism of the late 1800s and the man who would become one of the greatest Jewish thinkers of the 20th century. Recommended for general readers and upper-division undergraduates through faculty and researchers. A. J. Avery-Peck; College of the Holy Cross

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
1. The Awakening of Our People (poem)p. 3
2. New Youth (poem)p. 5
3. The Ploughman (poem)p. 7
4. Narcissus (poem)p. 9
5. Prayer (poem)p. 12
6. May Magic (poem)p. 12
7. Mountaintop Bonfires (essay)p. 13
8. Festivals of Life (essay)p. 17
9. A Purim-Prologue (poem)p. 20
10. Urgent Work (essay)p. 22
11. The Congressional Platform (essay)p. 26
12. I. L. Peretz (essay)p. 28
13. Jewish Renaissance (essay)p. 30
14. Jewish Studies (essay in two parts)p. 34
15. A Group for Jewish Art and Jewish Studies (essay)p. 42
16. A Young Judaic Stage (essay)p. 43
17. Address on Jewish Art (essay)p. 46
18. Lesser Ury (essay)p. 64
19. Jewish Art (essay)p. 86
20. A Word Regarding the Fifth Congress (essay in two parts)p. 88
21. Jewish Artists (introductory essay)p. 100
22. Ways to Zionism (essay)p. 105
23. A Day of World Zionism (essay)p. 109
24. The Jewish Woman's Zion (essay)p. 111
25. A Spiritual Center (essay)p. 118
26. Two Dances (poem)p. 128
27. The Flame (poem)p. 132
28. The Redemption (poem)p. 133
29. The Disciple (poem)p. 134
30. The Magi (poem)p. 135
31. The Daemon (poem)p. 136
32. Elijahu (poem)p. 139
33. The Productive Ones, the People and the Movement (essay)p. 140
34. Theodor Herzl (essay)p. 146
35. Herzl and History (essay)p. 154
36. An Explanation (response to Herzl essay)p. 164
37. He and We (essay)p. 166
38. The Jewish Movement (essay)p. 171
39. The Jewish Cultural Problem and Zionism (essay)p. 175
40. The Discovery of Palestine (essay)p. 195
41. The Hebrew Language (essay)p. 198
42. The Land of the Jews (essay)p. 206
Indexp. 211