Dialogical Philosophy from Kierkegaard to Buber

By Shmuel Hugo Bergman
Translated by Arnold A. Gerstein

Subjects: Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Jewish Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791406243, 280 pages, August 1991
Hardcover : 9780791406236, 280 pages, August 1991

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Table of contents



Part One. Soren Kierkegaard

1. The Development of Philosophy


Descartes, Liebnitz, Kant
Fichte and Hegel
Kierkegaard and Hegel
Romanticism and the Cult of Genius
Kierkegaard's Life


2. The Concept of Irony in Kierkegaard's Thought


The Trial of Socrates
The Ironist and the Prophet
Socrates According to Aristophanes
The Character of the Ironist
Irony and Romanticism
The Religious Stage
Ironist as Teacher
Objective vs. Existential Truth


3. Kierkegaard's Pseudonymous Writings


A Christian in an Aesthetic Age
Three Representatives of the Aesthetic Life
The Eternal and Temporal Man
In Praise of Marriage
Marriage--The Transition from Aesthetics to Ethics
The Choice of Despair
Man's Duty to Be Himself
The Relation between the Moral and the Religious
The Rejection of Mysticism
Euphoric Non-Vindication
Fear and Trembling
The Sacrifice of Isaac
Resignation and Repetition
Morality and the Sacrifice of Isaac
The Absolute Duty to God
Incidents of Moral Suspension in the Bible
The Book of Job--the True Book of Repetition
The 'Individual' in Hegel and Kierkegaard
The Individual as a Religious Category
Philosophy and Faith
The Intrusion of Eternity into Time
Learning is Remembering
Learning and Revelation
Revelation and Love
Paradox and Faith
The Risk of Faith
Objective Christianity as Idolatry
The Invisible Church
The 'Leap' to Faith
The Difficulty of Subjectivity
Existential Tension
Existential Pathos and Suffering
Suffering and Humor
Suffering and the Consciousness of Guilt


Part Two. Transition

4. Transitional Thinkers from Feuerbach to Rosenstock


Feuerbach and Stirner
First Principle in the System of Hermann Cohen
From Idealism to Dialogue
Ferdinand Ebner: Reciprocity and Spirituality
Self-Isolation--A Betrayal of God
Eugen Rosenstock
Thought and Speech
Three Levels of Language
The Error of Psychology


Part Three. Franz Rosenzweig

5. Franz Rosenzweig: An Overview


Metaethics, Metalogic, and Metaphysics
Unity and Triad: A Starting Point
Sick and Healthy Reason
Three Stages in the Cure of 'Paralysis'
God and His Name
Critical Remarks


6. The Star of Redemption


Being and Fortitude in God
Law and Particularity in the World
Character and Will in Man
The Protocosmos and the Revealed World
Philosophy and Theology
Revelation or the World in Time
Love of God and Love of Neighbor
The Law of the Reversibility of Arch-Words
The Evolution of Redemption
Judaism and Christianity


Part Four. The Dialogical Philosophy of Martin Buber

7. The Origin of I-Thou: The Mystical Period


The Imbalance of Realization and Orientation
Polarity and Unity
I and Thou
The World of I and the World of It
Life with Nature
Life with Man
Life with the Spiritual
Man's World
Man and God--The Eternal Thou





This book introduces American readers to a philosophical and spiritual exemplar of dialogue. The author presents a way of thinking about ourselves, the world, and our relationship to God that is neither dualistic nor monistic. The thinkers presented in this book focus on a radical departure from objectivism and subjectivism. Kierkegaard, Feuerbach, Herman Cohen, Ferdinand Ebner, Eugen Rosenstock, Franz Rosenzweig, and Martin Buber were all trying to find a way to allow a transaction between self, the world, and God without foregoing either individuality or the experience of merging.

Some of the issues covered in the book include the origins of philosophy; objective versus existential truth; irony, truth, and faith; ethics versus aesthetics; ethics versus religion; thought and language; love of God and neighbor; I-Thou and I-It in Nature, with people, and with God; and redemption in the world.

Shmuel Hugo Bergman was Professor Emeritus in the Department of Philosophy at Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Arnold A. Gerstein is Professor of Humanities and Human Communication in the Department of General Studies at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo.