Buber’s monumental work, inscribed on front free endpaper of Die Schriftwerke volume.
Martin Buber (1878-1965) was an Austrian-born Jewish philosopher, religious thinker, political activist and educator. He was a direct descendent of the prominent 16th century rabbi, Meir Katzenellenbogen, known as the Maharam of Padua, as was his cousin – cosmetics queen, Helena Rubinstein. Karl Marx is another notable relative.
Born in Vienna, Buber came from a family of observant Jews, but broke with Jewish custom to pursue secular studies in philosophy. He spent most of his life in Germany and Israel, writing in German and Hebrew. In 1902 he became the editor of the weekly Die Welt – the central organ of the Zionist movement, although he later withdrew from organisational work in Zionism.
In 1923, Buber wrote his famous essay on existence, Ich und Du (later translated into English as I and Thou), and in 1925, he began translating the Hebrew Bible into the German language, as exemplified here. He began this monumental work in collaboration with Franz Rosenzweig, but it was not completed until 1961, more than 30 years after Rosenzweig’s death.
When translating the Bible, Buber’s goal was to make the German version as close to the original oral Hebrew as possible. Rather than smoothing over difficult or unclear passages, he preferred to leave them rough. One important method was to identify keywords (Leitworte) and study the linguistic relationship between the parts of the text, uncovering the repetition of word stems and same or similar sounding words. Buber also tried to ward against Platonizing tendencies by shifting from static and impersonal terms to active and personal terms. For instance, whereas kodesh had previously been translated “holy,” he used the term “hallowing” to emphasize activity. Similarly, God is not the “Being” but the “Existing,” and what had been rendered “Lord” became “I,” “Thou” and “He.”
Four volumes; 8vo., (18.7 x 11.5 cm), inscribed presentation set, original black cloth, paper labels, dust-wrappers, a fine set.
Stock ID: 87453