Impressum| Contact
News| Life| Work| Material| More| Forum
› Overview › Buber Bibliography › Excerpts from I and Thou › Books by Buber
› German edition



This religious movement within Judaism emerged around 1750 in the Ukraine and in Poland; it represents (like the German Pietist movement) the protest against legalist faith, casuistics, intellectuality - a popular movement with deep religious sentiment and longing for God. It emphasizes emotional values, piety, but also joy and active love. This movement has heavily influenced on Buber's thought. For five years, he had dived into the Chassidic texts while ceasing any other activity.


Buber's philosophy of dialogue views the human existence in relations, and that in two fundamentally different kinds of relations: I-It and I-Thou relations.
An I-Itrelation is the normal everyday relation of a human being towards the things surrounding him. Man can also consider his fellows as an It - and that is what he does most of the time -, he views the other from a distance, like a thing, a part of the environment, forged into chains of causality.
Radically different the I-Thou relation. The human being enters into it with his innermost and whole being, in a meeting, in a real dialogue this is what both of the partners do. For Buber, interhuman meetings are only a reflection of the human meeting with God. The essence of the biblical religion consists for Buber of the fact that - regardless of the infinite abyss between them - a dialogue between man and God is possible.


The foundations of Buber's religion philsophy lie in his Chassidic work and his philosopy of dialogue. The basis of belief is the relation between man and God, the relation to the eternal Thou. In an unparalleled consistent way he accomplishes the anthropological turn-about in theology towards the human being: following the dialogical existence of man, there is no statement about God which does not at the same time state something about man. For Buber, the biblical history of belief of Israel is a living tradition, a dialogical history between God and man: from calling Abraham out of his environment, the covenant at Mount Sinai up to the prophets, a dialogical history which demands anyone who joins it.

The basis for all statement about faith is the dialogical relation of trust, not the belief in dogmatic contents, as he views in Christian theology: "One can believe that God is and live in his back, he who trusts him lives in his face." (Two Types of Faith). "Trust is proving trust in the fullness of life in spite of the experienced course of the world."