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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:54979
Doc. No:TL24933
Call number:‭3313671‬
Main Entry:Claire Emily Sufrin
Title & Author:Martin Buber's biblical hermeneuticsClaire Emily Sufrin
College:Stanford University
Date:2008
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2008
Page No:262
Abstract:This dissertation examines the biblical hermeneutics of German-Jewish thinker Martin Buber (1878-1965). Through close analysis of books and essays he wrote between 1909 and 1945, I show how the evolution of Buber's hermeneutics shaped and was shaped by his changing attitudes toward history, myth, and historicism. His understanding of revelation and, in particular, the possibility of present-day revelation, was also a significant force driving the development of his hermeneutics. My analysis of Buber's thinking is deepened by consideration of other modern Jewish thinkers including Baruch Spinoza, Moses Mendelssohn, Franz Rosenzweig, and Abraham Joshua Heschel as well as literary theory, philosophical hermeneutics, and Christian theology. Focusing on Buber's hermeneutics in this way offers a new perspective on his work as a whole and challenges the common perception that the philosophy of dialogue he expressed in I and Thou was the basis for his hermeneutics (and for all of his ideas in many other fields). This work also offers insight into Buber's understanding of Judaism and the social and religious conditions of modern Jews. Analyzing Buber's efforts to find the best relationship between a reader and her holy text, I identify four distinct stages in the development of his thinking about the Hebrew Bible. I argue that Buber's brief discussions of the Bible as an example of Jewish history and Jewish myth in his Early Addresses on Judaism (1909-1919) constitute the first stage of his hermeneutics. As the second stage in his hermeneutics, I discuss I and Thou (1923), Buber's most well-known work. I argue that the Bible does not fit well within the discussions of Art, Revelation or the Word in I and Thou and thus that there is no reason to assume that Buber's hermeneutics is rooted in his philosophy of dialogue. It was only translating the Hebrew Bible into German with Rosenzweig in the 1920s that Buber began to explore how his dialogical philosophy might affect biblical hermeneutics. Essays from this time constitute the third stage in Buber's hermeneutics, as he examined whether the Bible should be understood as the product of dialogue and/or as a portal to present-day dialogue. Arguing that he abandoned the latter possibility, I suggest that we understand his concept of biblical Leitworte (leading-words) as a dialogue within the text itself. I find the final stage in Buber's hermeneutics in the three books of biblical commentary he wrote in the 1930s and 1940s. I show how Buber became concerned with determining the "true history" of biblical theology and how he understood the prophets as teachers who developed this theology. Dialogue with God appears here as an experience of the biblical prophets, available to modern people only in the form of prayer. Over the four stages of his hermeneutics, he became a better reader of the biblical text itself, while ultimately largely abandoning his earlier interests in the text as a means of creating immediate connections between God and modern-day readers.
Subject:Philosophy, religion and theology; Social sciences; Biblical hermeneutics; Buber, Martin; Jewish; Jewish biblical hermeneutics; Modern Jewish thought; Modern hermeneutics; Religion; Bible; Judaic studies; 0751:Judaic studies; 0321:Bible; 0318:Religion
Added Entry:A. M. Eisen
Added Entry:Stanford University