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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel

There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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Martin Buber's Formative Years: From German Culture to Jewish Renewal, 1897-1909 (Judaic Studies)


Martin Buber's Formative Years: From German Culture to Jewish Renewal, 1897-1909 (Judaic Studies) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Martin Buber (1878-1965) was born into a world of two cultures - his Jewish family and his Austrian fatherland. During his childhood with his grandparents in Galician Lvov, Jewish values and German aesthetics coexisted. But after Buber re-entered fin-de-siecle Viennese society, the world of his grandparents fell apart. Nothing was as it should have been: Jewish hopes for full social integration were disappointed, Yiddish culture seemingly caused modern Jewish youth to be impoverished, and the Jewish religion had become ossified. In his personal confusion, Buber clearly grasped the essence of the problem: emancipation had failed, German culture was dying, Jews were on their own, and tradition was no longer good enough. During the period from 1897 to 1909, Buber's keen sense of the crisis of humanity, his intimate knowledge of German culture and Jewish sources, and his fearlessness in the face of possible ridicule challenged him to behave in a manner so outrageous and so contrary to German-Jewish tradition that he actually achieved a transformation of himself and those close to him. Calling on spiritual giants of great historical periods in German, Christian, and Jewish history - such as Nicolas of Cusa, Jakob Bohme, Israel Baal Shem Tov, Rabbi Nachman of Brazlav, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and Friedrich Nietzsche - Buber proceeded to subvert the existing order by turning his upside-down world of slave morality right side up once more. If contemporary life was bankrupt, why lament? Did not God command humanity to act? Buber wholeheartedly immersed himself in the making of a new world, of Zionist culture, of Hasidic spirituality, of Romantic individuality, of unity from diversity. Byexamining the multitude of disparate sources that Buber turned to for inspiration, this book aims to elucidate Buber's creative genius and his contribution to turn-of-the-century Jewish renewal. Schmidt's timely and comprehensive study concludes that Buber was successful in cre

Book News Annotation:

Schmidt (religious studies, U. of Tennessee) concludes that Buber was successful in creating the German-Jewish symbiosis that Emancipation was to have created for the two peoples, but that this synthesis was tragic because it came too late for application by Jews in Germany. She examines the disparate sources he turned to in his efforts to make a new world, such as Zionist culture, Hasidic spirituality, and Romantic individuality.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (


Includes bibliographical references (p. 161-168) and index.

Product Details

Schmidt, Gilya Gerada
University Alabama Press
Schmidt, Gilya Gerda
Tuscaloosa :
Intellectual life
Judaism - Theology
Buber, Martin
Jews -- Germany -- Intellectual life.
Judaism - Theology x
Buber, Martin - Childhood and youth
General Biography
Biography - General
Edition Description:
Judaic Studies Series
Series Volume:
no. 1994-865
Publication Date:
9.26x6.29x.77 in. 1.10 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Religion » Judaism » Theology

Martin Buber's Formative Years: From German Culture to Jewish Renewal, 1897-1909 (Judaic Studies) New Hardcover
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