I and Tao

Martin Buber's Encounter with Chuang Tzu

By Jonathan R. Herman

Subjects: Jewish Studies
Paperback : 9780791429242, 292 pages, July 1996
Hardcover : 9780791429235, 292 pages, July 1996

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Table of contents

Introduction: Chuang Tzu, Martin Buber, and Reden und Gleichnisse des Tschuang-tse

Part I: Text and Commentary

The Text Translation: "Talks and Parables of Chuang Tzu"

The Commentary: "Afterword"

Part II: The Hermeneutic Chapters

The Historical Question: The Matter of Textual Reconstruction

The Hermeneutic Question: The Matter of Textual Interpretation

The Further Hermeneutic Question: The Matter of Textual Reception

Conclusion: Cross-Cultural Interpretations and Hermeneutic Implications


Presents a new view of the Taoist classic, The Chuang Tzu, through the lens of Buber’s translation and his philosophy developed in I and Thou and later works.


"Through competent scholarship, insightful interpretation, and masterful understanding of the present dialogue on hermeneutics, it brings Buber's book on Chuang Tzu into sinology and sinology via this book into the understanding and interpretation of Buber. No one else has ever tackled bringing these three fields—Sinology, Buber scholarship, and comparative mysticism—into meaningful interrelation and dialogue. "— Maurice Friedman, author of Martin Buber's Life and Work

"The best thing is the depth and breadth of his discussion of hermeneutic issues. Herman is very well read both in theoretical hermeneutics and in sinological literature on the Chuang Tzu, and he has thought carefully through the main methodological issues related to his task. His discussion of the relation between unitive/escapist and 'intraworldly' mysticism in the Chuang Tzu is a great contribution. " — Michael LaFargue, University of Massachusetts, Boston

"Buber's approach to Taoism is not primarily that of the scholar, but of the practitioner of philosophia perennis. And since Buber holds a prominent place in twentieth-century religious history, his appropriation of the Chuang Tzu is an important subject. Herman, to his credit, has not stood in Buber's path, but has allowed him to speak for himself.

"His treatment of textual reconstruction, interpretation, and reception in the hermeneutic chapters adds a great deal to these topics that is valuable quite apart from the specific text he addresses. " — David L. Hall

Jonathan R. Herman is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Classical Languages at St. Lawrence University.