Historical Who is Who
1878 - 1965
German educated, Jewish social philosopher for whom engagement with Hasidic life and thought and threat from Nazism inspired relocation to Palestine in 1938. His Zionist commitment was qualified by a sense of territory shared with Palestinians; he was a ‘Hebrew Humanist’. He published and lectured widely but his I and Thou book is what he is best known for. Whilst he was critical of self-centredness in philosophy, his own focus on the specialness of I-Thou relations led to criticism that that undervalues more inclusive I-You ones. He is central to the development of Jewish-Christian dialogue with its spirit of mutual appreciation, rooted in a sense of the ‘Eternal Thou’.