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Title: Encounter and Embodiment: Martin Buber's Philosophical Anthropology Reconsidered
Authors: Plevan, William M.
Advisors: Batnitzky, Leora F
Contributors: Religion Department
Keywords: Jewish Philosophy
Philosophical Anthropology
Philosophy of Religion
Social Theory
Subjects: Philosophy of Religion
Judaic studies
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: In my dissertation, I argue that Buber’s 1938 lectures on philosophical anthropology, The Problem of the Human Being, are a crucial resource for understanding the relationship between Buber’s philosophy of dialogue and his writings on Judaism. I show that Buber’s critique of collectivism and individualism in social and political theory and philosophy of culture is part of his broader project of arguing that Western thought, and in particular German philosophy, have ignored the spiritual teachings of Judaism to its detriment. I demonstrate the link between Buber’s philosophical account of dialogue as a genuine relationship that grounds community and an embodied conception of holiness he found in classical Jewish texts. For Buber, the essentially Jewish idea that a genuine relationship with other involves their whole, embodied reality could serve as a spiritual counter to both social alienation and totalitarian politics in modern life. While I question both Buber’s essentialist methodological approach to the history of Judaism and aspects of his philosophical account of dialogue, I find his project of fusing social and spiritual renewal to be instructive for contemporary religious thought, social and political theory.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Religion

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