Price  £10.95
Format  Hardback
Published  1988
Length  132 pages
ISBN  9781870015073


Pamela Vermes


On 13 July 1965 more than 2,000 people crammed into the memorial service for Martin Buber.Yet, during his lifetime, some had said his work was esoteric, impossible for most people to understand, and he was branded a dubious interpreter of Jewish values.

Who was he then, this gifted man whose studies ranged from philosophy to education, to psychology, to politics, to biblical studies and further? He denied that he was a philosopher or theologian. He refused to accept the feasibility of union with God – the declared aim of the mystic. His role was that of a guide rather than an instructor. ‘I demonstrate reality,’ he insisted. ‘I have no doctrine. I conduct a conversation.’ He found it intolerable that religion should be a thing apart, a sacred speciality, and called for the recognition of divine Presence in everyday life. From the Bible and from Hasidism, Buber, an existential interpreter, drew and reformulated truths which Jews and non-Jews alike recognize as necessary to the development and wholeness of the individual.

That he was a Zionist there is no doubt though he belonged to a minority which sought a compromise with the Palestinian Arabs. He abhorred bloodshed and sought a peaceful co-existence between the two peoples.

About Pamela Vermes

Pamela Vermes is the author of Buber on God and the Perfect Man (Scholars Press, 1980) and the literary editor of the Journal of Jewish Studies.