Martin Buber's Theopolitics

Martin Buber's Theopolitics

Samuel Hayim Brody
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/16/2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-03003-0
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How did one of the greatest Jewish thinkers of the 20th century grapple with the founding of Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—one of the most significant political conflicts of his time? Samuel Hayim Brody traces the development of Martin Buber's thinking and its implications for the Jewish religion, for the problems posed by Zionism, and for the Zionist-Arab conflict. Beginning in turbulent Weimar Germany, Brody shows how Buber's debates about Biblical meanings had concrete political consequences for anarchists, socialists, Zionists, Nazis, British, and Palestinians alike. Brody further reveals how Buber's passionate commitment to the rule of God absent an intermediary came into conflict in the face of a Zionist movement in danger of repeating ancient mistakes. Brody argues that Buber's support for Israel stemmed from a radically rich and complex understanding of the nature of the Jewish mission on earth that arose from an anarchist reading of the Bible.

Author Bio

Samuel Hayim Brody is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas. He is editor of Martin Buber Werkausgabe, volume 15.


“"What Samuel Hayim Brody has done is to focus on Martin Buber as a political thinker and to consider the character of his fundamental political ideas and commitments. He does this primarily as an intellectual historian, with a very rich sense of Buber's political activities and involvements. Brilliantly conceived, well-written, filled with deep readings and analysis."”
 — Michael L. Morgan, author of , Levinas's Ethical Politics

“"Samuel Hayim Brody's book addresses an absolutely central, yet hitherto neglected, topic in Martin Buber's thought, which not only situates his philosophical trajectory in an intellectual-historical context, especially of the Weimar years, but also makes a persuasive argument for the pivotal role of theopolitics in that trajectory. A magisterial study in every way and certain to become the authoritative book in its field."”
 — Asher Biemann, author of , Dreaming of Michelangelo: Jewish Variations on a Modern Theme

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Table of Contents

Note on Translation/Transliteration
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: What is Theopolitics?
Part One: From Anarchism to Anarcho-Theocracy: The Birth of Theopolitics
1. The True Front: Buber and Landauer on Anarchism and Revolution
2. The Serpent: Theopolitics from Weimar to Nazi Germany
3. God against Messiah: The Kingship of God and the Ancient Israelite Anarcho-Theocracy
Part Two: The Anointed and the Prophet: Theopolitics in Israel from Exodus to Exile
4. Between Pharaohs and Nomads: Moses
5. The Arcanum of the Monarchy: The Anointed
6. The Battle for YHVH: The Prophetic Faith
Part Three: Theopolitics and Zion
7. Palestinian Rain: Zionism as Applied Theopolitics
8. This Pathless Hour: Theopolitics in the Present
Conclusion: The Narrow Ridge, the Razor’s Edge
Appendix: Martin Buber to Hans Kohn, 10/4/1939