Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Professor Eugene A. Combs
Professor Louis Greenspan
The writings of Martin Buber have had an impact in many areas. Theology, philosophy, educational theory, psychotherapy and biblical studies have each culled insights from his wide-ranging works. While Buber's interests have been diverse, however, a major part of his efforts has been expended in explicating, exegeting, translating and philosophizing about the Hebrew Bible.
This thesis describes and analyzes Buber as an interpreter of the Hebrew Bible. It is not a sustained critique of his theology and philosophy and their effect on biblical interpretation, but rather a discussion of his use of theological and philosophical concepts in interpretation and the problems arising therein.
Buber has often been understood as being antinomian in respect to the biblical tradition and the concepts of Judaism which grew out of that tradition. This thesis focuses upon and calls attention to the traditional elements as they appear within the methodology and content of Buber's interpretations, especially in regard to prophecy, the election, nationhood and land of Israel, and kingship and messianism. In so doing, it evidences a perception of Buber as a traditional Jewish thinker. Buber as biblical interpreter is set against Maimonides and Nahmanides as a means of ascertaining the traditional components. The antinomian aspects and their implications are also analyzed.
The thesis demonstrates the strong presence of traditional elements in Buber's biblical interpretations, elements, however, which are often distorted because of Buber's rejection of the rabbinic tradition. The thesis concludes that the antinomian aspects are not overcome by the traditional components, and so remain effective in Buber's writings.
Millen, Rochelle Landesman, "Martin Buber as Interpreter of the Bible" (1983). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1460.