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Extended Audio Sample I and Thou, by Martin Buber Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (3,719 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Martin Buber Narrator: Patrick Cullen Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Martin Buber’s I and Thou has long been acclaimed as a classic. Many prominent writers have acknowledged its influence on their work; students of intellectual history consider it a landmark; and the generation born after World War II considers Buber one of its prophets. Buber’s main proposition is that we may address existence in two ways: (1) that of the “I” toward an “It,” toward an object that is separate in itself, which we either use or experience; (2) that of the “I” toward “Thou,” in which we move into existence in a relationship without bounds. One of the major themes of the book is that human life finds its meaningfulness in relationships. All of our relationships, Buber contends, bring us ultimately into relationship with God, who is the Eternal Thou.

The need for a new English translation had been felt for many years. The old version was marred by many inaccuracies and misunderstandings, and its recurrent use of the archaic “thou” was seriously misleading. Professor Walter Kaufmann, a distinguished writer and philosopher in his own right who was close to Buber, retranslated the work at the request of Buber’s family. He added a wealth of informative footnotes to clarify obscurities and bring the reader closer to the original and wrote an extensive prologue that opened up new perspectives on the book and on Buber’s thought. This volume provided a new basis for all subsequent discussions of Buber.

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Quotes & Awards

  • I and Thou, Martin Buber’s classic philosophical work, is among the twentieth century’s foundational documents of religious ethics…Throughout I and Thou, Buber argues for an ethic that does not use other people (or books, or trees, or God), and does not consider them objects of one’s own personal experience. Instead, Buber writes, we must learn to consider everything around us as ‘You’ speaking to ‘me,’ and requiring a response. Buber’s dense arguments can be rough going at times, but Walter Kaufmann’s definitive 1970 translation contains hundreds of helpful footnotes providing Buber’s own explanations of the book’s most difficult passages.”

    Amazon.com editorial review

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Nick | 2/16/2014

    " I know this is a classic and a great book. It is deep and difficult to understand. That being said, I felt like I comprehended about 30% of what Buber was talking about. So I liked it, but didn't love it. I think I'll come back to it in a few years when I'm a bit smarter and see how far I get. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Morgan | 2/15/2014

    " Still not sure I completely understand it, but the things that made sense to me in this very Russian (or maybe German) book were fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Sharilyn | 2/8/2014

    " Yes, it's incredibly difficult to read. But the effort is worth it. I remember why Buber made such an impression on me in college. It's impossible to explain (I have yet to run across anyone's attempt that actually made sense), but somehow while you are reading it, Buber's thoughts sink into your psyche. And to me it all seems to lead back to relationship. Relationship with what is around you, relationship with who is around you, and ultimately, relationship with our Creator. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Alisa | 2/4/2014

    " Relatively easy to follow, great ideas on a person's relationship to his/her surrounding environment and the people or things in it. Poetically written. "

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About the Author
Author Martin Buber

Martin Buber (1878–1965) was a Jewish philosopher, theologian, Bible translator, and editor of Hasidic tradition. He was also known as one of the paramount spiritual leaders of the twentieth century and is best known as the author of I and Thou—the basic formulation of his philosophy of dialogue—and for his appreciation of Hasidism, which made a deep impact on Christian as well as Jewish thinkers. Fleeing Nazi Germany in 1938, he immigrated to Israel, where he taught social philosophy at the Hebrew University.