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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: July 2010 ISBN: 9781470803360
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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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ayu Puspita Sari | 1/22/2014

    " Go away Nietzsche, now I am Buberian. >D "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patrick\ | 1/19/2014

    " Good or must read coming out of adolescence "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathy | 12/28/2013

    " I love this translation & am reading it again because I found it so compelling. His view is that relation is the key to life - whether it is relation to another person, thing, animal, or God. Indeed, he says, it is only when we are in true relation that we know reality. Presence is the key. Fans of Eckhart Tolle would find this a complementary title. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karla Isabel | 12/26/2013

    " Definitly the type of book that you have to be really open minded about reading more than just once. it was absolutely mind boggoling( in a good way) i always mention it in my life! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stacie | 12/21/2013

    " Fantastic. As good as Heidegger's Being and Time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Abailart | 12/15/2013

    " I have had this translation out of the library five times over the past two years. This time, I have it just for the Walter Kaufmann introduction which is brilliant, and I want to quote from the first four or five pages for something I am writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James | 12/12/2013

    " About man's relationship to spirit/God/Universe. Compelling and damn near impossible to read. I can't put it down "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ero | 12/10/2013

    " to read this book is, appropriately, to engage in a profound dialogue and relationship with its author. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenny | 11/30/2013

    " So far like a really good prose poem. I don't even mind the God part. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patricia | 10/7/2013

    " Reading this in the mornings. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 8/28/2013

    " Buber made me rethink all my ideas on relationships in heady German-Jewish philosophy. His understandings of relationships are entirely brilliant. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeffrey Quinn | 6/23/2013

    " Great book -- and one that has inspired so many others. It's thin, but not a quick read. Set aside some time for processing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 4/27/2013

    " In today's meat market cyber-dating culture, what is most often lost is the perception of divinity within the beloved. This work is an encouraging point to start from, for those daring enough to Love. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 RK-ique | 2/23/2013

    " I learned how to 'read'with this book. Magic! Not sure what it means any more. I have subsequently read the Kaufman translation several times. Will re-read again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Camille Church | 12/31/2012

    " salvation (in the broad sense) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pamela Draper | 7/2/2012

    " A truly fascinating book! Though I only read parts of it, and was knocked on my ass repeatedly for most of those parts, it still ended up being a rewarding read...it's about being in relationship with the world around you, not just experiencing it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Monika Müller | 5/7/2012

    " A profound philosophical work, not that easy to read, but perfect to reflect one's life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martinc2 | 5/6/2012

    " Classic on the relationship of mindfulness to interrelating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Norah | 3/24/2012

    " I read this a long time ago when I was just starting to look at philosophy and was most impressed by his writing. May have mislaid it or lent it, but was given another copy recently and plan to keep it and re-read it "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elsa | 10/21/2011

    " I suspect that this is one of those books I will return to again and again for wisdom and understanding. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Benjamin | 9/28/2011

    " A true gem. Extremely "guttural" for a work in philosophy. Philosophers often forget that we have minds AND hearts. This appeal to each of us to find the Being in each other was well put. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karla | 9/18/2011

    " Definitly the type of book that you have to be really open minded about reading more than just once. it was absolutely mind boggoling( in a good way) i always mention it in my life! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maureen | 4/5/2011

    " I don't really get into philosophy but this book at some interesting perspectives. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Asam | 2/7/2011

    " Interesting theologically, but the jargon makes it somewhat inaccessible and difficult to get into. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 12/31/2010

    " Absolutely fantastic. Essential book to read, if one is interested in understanding human relationships; and if you are not, are you really human? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bharat | 12/3/2010

    " Sometimes you pick up a book, struggle through it, and say to yourself "hm, that was interesting." Other times, you finish and ask, "what the hell just happened here?" "

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