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The Hard and the Soft

Moments in the Reception of Martin Buber as a Political Thinker

In: The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy
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Politics has never been considered Martin Buber’s forte. This paper considers the range of Buber’s reception as a political thinker by considering it in the form of three “moments,” each from a different point in his career, and each through the eyes of a different figure who either read or worked with Buber politically: Theodor Herzl, Gustav Landauer, and Hans Kohn. The three moments are structured around a discussion of the classic criticism that Buber’s politics are naïve or utopian; the paper seeks to respond, as Buber did, in a way that raises questions about the borders of politics itself.

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