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Martin Buber: Philosopher of Dialogue

Martin Buber: Philosopher of Dialogue

Sunday, October 18, 2015 to Monday, October 19, 2015

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Martin Buber’s death, this two-day conference brought together leading scholars from around the country to generate new questions and explored answers relating to the issues at the heart of Buber’s thought.

One of the most profound and influential Jewish philosophers of the twentieth century, Martin Buber articulated his concept of "dialogue" most famously in his 1923 book I and Thou.

He continued to develop it throughout his life in writings on Hasidism and the Hebrew Bible, philosophy, Christianity, and Zionism. This conference explored various aspects of his dialogical thought.

Sunday, October 18:
Opening Remarks
Dean P Bell,
Provost and Video President, Spertus Institute
Paul Mendes-Flohr,
University of Chicago Divinity School
Opening Keynote Address
Dr. Michael Fishbane
of the Divinity School, University of Chicago, presented the October 18 keynote address, Authenticity and Spiritual Resistence: Martin Buber and Biblical Hermeneutics.

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October 18 Session 1:
Buber's Dialogues with Hasidism

Chair: Na'ama Rokem, University of Chicago

David Biale, University of California at Davis: The Buber-Scholem Controversy Revisited

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Sam Berrin Shonkoff, University of Chicago Divinity School: Sacramental Existence and Religious Truth in Buber's Representation of Hasidism

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October 18 Session 2:
Receptions of Buber's Social Thought

Chair: Orit Bashkin, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

Sarah Scott, Manhattan College: Imagination and Moral Judgement: A Defense of Buber's 'Aestheticism'

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Samuel Brody, University of Kansas: The Hard and the Soft: Moments in Buber's Reception as a Political Thinker

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Image at left

Martin Buber from Andy Warhol's Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century. Print series, Spertus Institute Collection

Keynote Presenters

Michael Fishbane

Dr. Michael Fishbane is the Nathan Cummings Distinguished Service Professor of Jewish Studies at the Divinity School of University of Chicago. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, twice a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to Jewish Scholarship from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.

Elliot WolfsonDr. Elliot Wolfson is the Marsha and Jay Glazer Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies, Department of Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara. He was formerly the Abraham Lieberman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University, where he taught from 1987 to 2014.


David Biale (University of California at Davis)
Samuel Hayim Brody (University of Kansas)
W. Clark Gilpin (University of Chicago)
Hans Joas (University of Chicago)
Steven Kepnes (Colgate University)
Michael Löwy (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
Shaul Magid (Indiana University)
Paul Mendes-Flohr (University of Chicago)
Martha Nussbaum (University of Chicago)
Randi Rashkover (George Mason University)
Sarah Scott (Manhattan College)
Sam Berrin Shonkoff (University of Chicago)
Claire Sufrin (Northwestern University)