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I and Thou

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  6,206 ratings  ·  233 reviews
Martin Buber's I & 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. The generation born since WWII considers Buber as one of its prophets. The need for a new English translation has been felt for years. The old version was marred by many inaccuracies ...more
Paperback, 191 pages
Published February 1st 1971 by Charles Scribner's Sons (NY) (first published 1923)
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As Walter Kaufmann says in his introduction, Buber's "I and Thou" stands somewhere between the literary and philosophical traditions. This makes the book very hard to summarize and its impact difficult to convey. Suffice it to say, this is 100 pages of honest, resonant writing from a man who believed the most important thing in the world was the relationship between two individuals. It turned an agnostic undergraduate into a believer. A book to return to again and again.
Ian Cantankeroo-Gazan
Ich-Du2 (See also "Ich-Du")
From Wikiboobia, the free encyclopedia:

Ich-Du2 is the lesser known sequel to Ich-Du.

In it, Boober was forced to qualify many of the concepts he had explored in the abstract in Ich-Du.


Ich-Du2 ("I-Thou-Two" or "I-You-Two") is a relationship that stresses the mutual, holi
I was assigned this book in college and kept it, because it struck me as so true at the time. The premise is that there can be no self without an other. You can only come into being through your relationships with others. At the time, I was kind of sick and pretty delusional and thought I was very invisible, so it seemed like a good way to look at the world: you can only exist in so far as you build a relationship with others. I think it still holds true to some extent, but not to the degree I o ...more
Shal J
This is my absolute favourite book of all time and no matter how many times I read it - I get something else out of it :)

According to Buber, human beings may adopt two attitudes toward the world: I-Thou or I-It. I-Thou is a relation of subject-to-subject, while I-It is a relation of subject-to-object. In the I-Thou relationship, human beings are aware of each oher as having a unity of being. In the I-Thou relationship, human beings do not perceive each other as consisting of specific, isolated
The school year 1982-1983 brought me the delightful discovery of philosophy, and the reading of I And Though was a total revelation to me; it may even have been the unconscious threshold that brought me to conversion. I remember having copied back then dozens and dozens of pages of that book, and I probably quoted it more than once in the 4 hour long essay I had to write the day of the final exam – lucky me, the national theme for the philosophy exam that year was LANGUAGE !

I still enjoy so muc
Fred Kohn
If I could give this book six stars, I would.

After giving up on an impenetrable Buber book a couple years ago, I expected that I would never make the attempt to understand him again. However when I saw this book in the church library, I was encouraged by its thinness and the lengthy introduction by Walter Kaufmann. The writing is incredibly dense: Buber's sometimes sudden introducing of unexplained metaphors reminded my a lot of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, another book which I am having trouble read
The most difficult book to read. And by difficult I mean that I really had to think. No mindless reading. The words are put together in a way that we (modern day Americans) aren't used to. This made it more difficult for me to anticipate the sentence which in turn made me have to re-read and focus more as I read.

Also, it is describing something that had never been fully described before. There are two different ways of having a relationship with everything in this world. I-You and I-It are the
I was lucky enough to be assigned this book in an Intro to Religion class. Otherwise, I might never have heard of it. God knows surprisingly few people have.

This is about the nature of the human being's relationship to its surroundings and its capacity for a transcendent, boundary-free relationship with whomever/whatever it encounters. Reminds me now of some of Goethe's theories on observation. At the time it most definitely provided background to the psychedelic "experimentation" of my early 20
Erik Graff
Jan 22, 2014 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Buber fans
Recommended to Erik by: Howard Burkle
Shelves: philosophy
I read this book for Howard Burkle's course, PHIL 215, "Existentialism" at Grinnell College during the first semester of 1972/73. It must have been one of our first readings as I read it while the weather was still warm under a tree in central campus. Unfortunately, I read it very quickly, having much else to get through, and it didn't make much of an impression on me beyond the surprisingly tender introduction by its translator, Walter Kaufmann. Indeed, I thought the point rather simple and its ...more
from an analysis of personal pronouns and the modes of relation that spring from them, buber develops an intricate philosophy of religion and human existence. like zukofsky with his "a" and "the", buber with his "ich" "du" and "es" shows us that the little words are the big words, and are literally inexhaustible.
I finished reading this book while eating my lunch today, and it does seem appropriate that at the Saturday Anticipation Mass later on in the day, I read aloud to the assembly from the Letter of James, “What good is it if someone says he has faith but does not have works?” The book, which is both simple and difficult (nothing like a German religion / philosophical work to get one thinking) is about relationship more than anything else; and I am very glad to own this copy of this book, as this is ...more
I and Thou is the first work of Martin Buber's that I have been exposed to. I was grateful for the prologue by Walter Kaufmann, as this work was originally written in German. Not only was it originally written in another language, but Buber had a habit of coining his own words and playing with words in unique ways making translating this work quite difficult in order to keep the meaning as close to the original as possible.

Although Martin Buber is known for being a Jewish philosopher and a propo
Phil Aud
This book was mind-boggling - in every sense. With a long preface and an afterwards, the book itself was only 115 pages. I'm not sure that I've ever read 115 pages so slowly. Often I would not rate a book so high that is so laborious, but you get the sense (as Kaufmann mentions in the preface) that Buber meant it to be laborious so that is would be read a certain way - slowly and thoughtfully. In the end, it became a labour of love. That being said, there were times when I didn't understand what ...more
Elliot Sneider
One of those books you are reading and you are not really sure if you understand it until you have a moment of 'AHA', and then as soon as you try to put into words your 'AHA' you lose it again, and you realize that the author is saying it as clearly as possible, and it takes a whole book. So, I have no idea what this book is about, but I had some clear moments of beauty while reading it, moments that I will remember for a long a time and somehow seem to make me stronger to think back on, even th ...more
Robbie Blair
Reading this book was like wandering waist-deep through a swamp, bumping into objects in the mud, dredging them out and polishing them off, and realizing that some of these strange objects are gemstones. Others, as it happens, are just rocks.

This is a wildly inaccessible text that uses its terms wildly and without providing good definitions. It has some beautiful lines and ideas, but they're hidden amongst a text that requires you to re-read each paragraph several times before you can make solid
Czarny Pies
Nov 11, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone wishing to understand the theological roots of Vatican II.
Recommended to Czarny by: Lucie Nowak
Shelves: religion
Martin Buber had an extraordinaire career. He was a personal friend of Thomas Herzl and was very active in the Zionist movement prior to World War I. His greatest work was as a theologian in which he not only made a compelling of Hasidism but also contributed greatly to the revival of personal Thomism which was so vigorously promoted by Vatican II.

It this short and clear book he proposes a theological model of human existence based on the word pairs Ich-du (I and thou) and Ich-es (I and it). The
Feb 29, 2008 Al rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: philosophers, truth seekers
Shelves: jesus-books
A good read about the semantics we use andhow those words create the world in which we dwell. A friend recommended this to me and said I wouldn't be disappointed. He was right, but I was also not moved. For me, it was a "good point" book, but not earth shattering. But I will say this, it did help me to identify the way I see people and things. It helped me to understand how I relate to God sometime in a very childish way, selfish almost. But, I know no other way. He is gracious.
David Withun
This is an amazing book with abundant insight into what it means to be human. I recommend this book for everyone; it is a must-read if you are or desire to be a human being. I especially recommend this edition as Walter Kaufmann's provides an excellent introduction to Martin Buber's work. If you read only one book in your life, read this book -- and then read it again and again.
Caspar Peek
It's hard to say whether I liked it or not. Question is really: did I understand it? This is possibly once of Buber's most accessible books, and yet...I spent three hours trying to get through the first ten pages of his work (not the introduction, whihc takes up almost a third of this slim volume).

It's dense. There's no other word for it. I can sense its meaning; I know he was on to something very big in terms of understanding the relationship between one human being and the next - the other. I
Buber says that the concept "I" can only exist in relation to "You".
"I" come into existence in the recognition of "You".
As "up" is a meaningless concept without "down", so "I" am unconceivable without "you".
Who "I" am is determined by how I relate to "You"

It all makes perfect sense to me without any recourse to mysticism at all.
Een filosofisch-theologisch werk vol mystieke, abstracte zinnen. Ik geef het vijf sterren hoewel ik niet alles begrepen heb. Enkele passages schreeuwen erom herlezen te worden en liefst nog eens herlezen om tot een glimp van begrijpen te komen. Het rare, het wonderbaarlijke is dat de boodschap van Buber in zijn naaktheid, jawel, simpel is. Het gaat er onder andere over dat het niet begrepen kan worden, dat het zelfs niet gevoeld kan worden, dat het zich aandient, verschijnt, dat het je omarmt, d ...more
Rereading this one again. A classic. A profoundly moving book. I should read it again every year.
“Mundus vult decipi: the world wants to be deceived. The truth is too complex and frightening; the taste for the truth is an acquired taste that few acquire. Not all deceptions are palatable. Untruths are too easy to come by, too quickly exploded, too cheap and ephemeral to give lasting comfort. Mundus vult decipi; but there is a hierarchy of deceptions.” (9) Walter Kaufmann provides a brilliant introduction to this classic work, and attempts to bring meaning to what seems to many people, includ ...more
Jordan Walters
This book.... This book... I'm an agnostic. I'm not sure what entirely I believe about the existence of a god, but Martin Buber phrases in this book all the divine human experiences we have, in a grand claim that when we experience pure, thou, love: We see the face of God. The thing is we have trouble explaining these things that are at the height of what it means to be human. This is exactly what its like when people fumble around to find the words to explain what they think of God. This is as ...more
Ferda Nihat Koksoy
BEN VE SEN, Martin Buber, PhD, Prof, Filozof-Teolog-Antropolog-Sosyolog, Frankfurt ve Hebrew Universiteleri, ALM-1923, TR-2003 (1.Baskı), Kitabiyat Yayın, Çeviren: İnci Palsay, 147 sf.

*Kitap, yazarın ölümünden 47 yıl sonra oğlunun isteği üzerine, Buber'in yakını olan Walter Kaufmann tarafından İngilizceye çevrilmiş, Almanca kelime oyunları nedeniyle çeviri güçlüğünü aşmak amacıyla da, çevirmen kitabın ön kısmına 40 sayfalık bir mukaddime (kavramsal açıklam
Barry Hammer
In this book, Martin Buber discusses the I-Thou relationship, which involves relating to another individual as a subject rather than an object. That is to say, the I-Thou relationship involves relating to the immediacy of another individual's living presence without interpretive abstractions and demanding expectations, in contrast to the I-It relationship, which involves mediating one's encounter by treating the other individual as a defined object and valuing them not for their own sake but rat ...more
Jun 01, 2014 John rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: to-buy
Buber’s pretty great. He’s much more than a philosopher or theologian. Or, I should say, he's not an academic, but what a philosopher was originally supposed to be. He’s a prophet, a wise man, with something essentially holistic, political, religious, and folksy about him. It’s not enough for him to know something; that knowledge has to change our entire being and then also the world.

Pushing Western dualism aside, Buber creates a unified cosmos that revolves around encountering others in relatio
Anja Weber
I FEEL IT.., so should you and so I hadn’t told you what you I want, feel or need. You should be closely enough attuned to me to sense it and so to act it without word of it.
Buber Martin, Austrian philosopher in his book *1937, on a philosophy and relationship *or "I and Thoy in Anglo Saxon style", is a special bound, an attuned closeness that is often / but of course not always - formed between couple, friends, parent-child, etc. In German, France, Russian, Serbian languages word’
Nick Klagge
When rating "I and Thou," I can't help but have in mind the story of the docent at the Uffizi who told an unimpressed tourist, "Madame, it is not the paintings that are on trial. It is you." This book has been so influential on Protestant theologians, and it seems clear to me from reading it that Buber is a genius. That said, it is written in a very difficult style and at times I didn't feel that I really understood what he was saying. The translator claims that the book is "untranslatable," and ...more
John Kemp
Despite its complexities, Buber's insight boils down to one very simple thing: recognising and valuing the attitude of mind which distinguishes our relation to God/others from our relation to objects. From this core insight, many lines of speculation and argument are developed, some easier to follow than others. Dense, allusive and challenging in the manner of all mystical texts worth their salt, Buber's text is also practical ( for those with a professional interest in interpersonal relationshi ...more
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Martin Buber was an Austrian-born Jewish philosopher best known for his philosophy of dialogue, a religious existentialism centered on the distinction between the I-Thou relationship and the I-It relationship.

Buber came from a family of observant Jews, but broke with Jewish custom to pursue secular studies in philosophy. In 1902, Buber became the editor of the weekly Die Welt, the central organ of
More about Martin Buber...
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“This is the eternal origin of art that a human being confronts a form that wants to become a work through him. Not a figment of his soul but something that appears to the soul and demands the soul's creative power. What is required is a deed that a man does with his whole being..” 27 likes
“Man wishes to be confirmed in his being by man, and wishes to have a presence in the being of the other….
Secretly and bashfully he watches for a YES which allows him to be and which can come to him only from one human person to another.
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