Inscribed by Martin Buber
Vom Geist des Judentums.
Item Number: 42011
Leipzig: Kurt Wolff, 1916.
First edition. Octavo, half cloth. Inscribed by Martin Buber on the half-title page to Hugo Hermann and signed with his initials. The recipient was a German composer and friend of Buber’s Hugo Hermann. In very good condition with a a spine label removed, bookplate, few stamps to the interior. Books signed and inscribed by Buber are rare.
Vom Geist des Judentums is a collection of lectures by Martin Buber that had a profound influence on European Judaism in the early 20th century. Buber aim was to convince intellectuals once again to take seriously the mystical elements of Judaism, such as kaballah. Assimilationism, secularism, and materialist skepticism had convinced many European Jews that religious Judaism demanded mindless allegiance to outmoded laws. Buber's involvement with Theodore Herzl's Zionist movement (which led to the creation of the state of Israel) gave him credibility with Jewish intellectuals, however. He used this credibility to persuade his listeners that there is an essential difference between rigid, legalistic "religion" and the vital, world-engaging "religiosity" that, he contended, is the prevailing character of Torah. As Kamenetz writes, "Buber's enduring insight is that Judaism is a process, not a conclusion: a religion of presence, and not simply an historical religion."