Martin Buber - 20th Century Philosopher
SECULAR & HUMANISTIC JUDAISM
Martin Buber was a great Jewish and religious thinker. Deeply influenced by existentialism, he developed
a view of God as the eternal Thou, that can only be reached through personal experience and dialog with yourself, and so does
not conform to any traditional concept of God.
Born on February 8, 1878
in Vienna. Died on June 13, 1965. Martin Buber grew up in the home of his grandfather, Solomon Buber, a talmudic
scholar. After his bar mitzvah he moved into his father's home in Poland and was exposed to the Hasidic movement. He
became aware of existentialism during his collegiate study of philosophy, culminating in a Ph.D. from the University of Vienna
in 1904. Buber became a Zionist during his 20-year career as a journalist. In 1923 he published his most famous
work: I and Thou, and joined the faculty at the University of Frankfurt as a Jewish scholar. He then published a new
German translation of the Bible with Franz Rosenzweig, but left Germany for Palestine in 1939. He became a professor
of social philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he helped form Ihud, a group that encouraged cooperation
between Arab and Jewish communities.