Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


The dissertation explores Martin Buber's conception of Jewish nationhood, in particular his idea of "regeneration", which, applied to Israel, involves as much divine and universal dimensions as it involves secular and particular dimensions, such as the biblical idea of cosmic mission and chosen nationhood, on the one hand, and return to labour on the land and the formation of communal socialism, on the other. Chapters I-VII discuss this attempted synthesis. In addition, they touch upon Buber's views on national development and autonomy within the context of international relations and the reality of Palestine--a reality distinguished by the presence of an indigenous Arab population with its own incipient nationalist feelings. The concluding chapter, with the help of insights drawn from the thought of Rousseau, suggests that Buber's conception of nationhood is liable to threaten such basic understandings of modern politics as autonomy, accountability, and the calculation of consequences. At the same time, it maintains that Buber follows Rousseau in his philosophy of "renewal" and in the way he points to the path leading towards it. Finally, it claims that, like Rousseau, if not more so, Buber was painfully alive to the profound tension which a simultaneous appeal to religion and politics, universality and particularity carries in its train.



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