Martin Buber (1878–1965) had a highly significant impact both on the religious thought of his time and on the theory and practice of psychotherapy.
The foundation for both of these contributions was Buber’s early and later lifelong concern with Hasidism – the popular communal mysticism of the Jewry of Eastern Europe that arose with Israel ben Elieazer (the Baal Shem Tov) (1700–1760). In his lifelong work on Hasidism, Buber moved from the fuller stories of his youth, such as The Legend of the Baal Shem, to the much shorter tales of the Hasidim – “legendary anecdotes.” When in 1948, the great German-Swiss novelist Hermann Hesse nominated Buber for a Nobel Prize in Literature, he claimed that by his tales of the Hasidim, Buber had enriched world literature as had no other living person. Buber also wrote For the Sake of Heaven, his Hasidic chronicle-novel and the little classic The Way of Man According to the Teachings of the Hasidimplus essays on Hasidic life and community that were...
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