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From "Erinnerung-Begegnung-Auseinandersetzung" / Hermann Levin Goldschmidt. In Martin Bubers Erbe für unsere Zeit / Werner Licharz (ed). - Frankfurt am Main: Haag und Herchen. Bd. 1. Ein Textbuch anlässlich des 20. [zwanzigsten] Todestages Martin Bubers. 1985, pp. 58-60. My translation.

Buber's relation to Constantin Brunner

We come now to what is, as we shall see, Buber's fundamentally divided repudiation of Brunner, along with the apparent general and Jewish significance of this resistance, which came to a frantic to-and-fro after the reviewer of the new edition of Brunner's works had cited Buber along with Ben Gurion and Hugo Bergman as a follower of Brunner. Hardly had the review in the Tel-Aviver Mitteilungsblatt of 13 May, 1960 been published, when Buber demanded at once the following correction, which was printed therefore in the next issue of 20 May, and without investigation of the reasons for the first citation of Buber:

It is incomprehensible that Hermann Levin Goldschmidt counts me among those "declaring themselves anew for Brunner." My renunciatory stance regarding Constantin Brunner's philosophy has not changed. He was a serious and passionate thinker, of that I have always been aware. But his doctrine, that is based on a division of the human race into "the spiritual few" and "the common people", appears to me, as always, erroneous and misleading. I would like there to be no doubt, by the way, that, if there were really two such fundamentally divided human types—which there are not, thank the Creator—I would prefer to live among the "common people" with their miserable "superstition" rather than among the "spiritual" with their proud "reason".

But Buber had just signed a declaration of the "Circle of the friends and followers of the philosopher Constantin Brunner in Israel," and also was declared therein to be, "united with the efforts of the International Constantin Brunner Institute." The explanation for his division from the followers of Brunner was provided in a letter regarding this matter, written on 13 June, 1960:

I first rose yesterday from an illness and can therefore answer your letter for the first time now. In this case, someone calling for a reprint of Brunner's works addressed himself some years ago to me with the request to permit him to refer also to me. I gave my approval gladly because the books, as someone told me, had long been out of print, and I hold it desirable that publications of rank, to which these undoubtedly belong, be enabled to find a readership. I am thinking at the same time most definitely of a readership capable of independent thought as it applies specifically to philosophical works. To make my reasoning more clear to you, for quotation, I propose again and always to translate a chief work of the man into Hebrew; and that indeed the separation into two types of people, the correct and the false, was undertaken still incomparably more radically than by Brunner, and here I mean by Augustine. I cannot recall having seen a "Declaration of the friends and followers of the philosopher Constantin Brunner in Israel"; I did not see it probably because I would have certainly inserted a caveat against my being counted in such a group. I send a copy of this letter to Dr. Tramer. I do not for a moment blame you personally because it is obvious that there is a misunderstanding on your part.

There was once again occasion to demonstrate that the "misunderstanding" imputed by Buber to the reviewer actually arose primarily from common ground:

Very interesting to me was your reference to Augustine. The 'Division', that I myself would like to cancel in the soul of each and all, is a forgotten outlook that once more would have to be closely examined and judged. Also you yourself, if I may say so, crossed through this way again and again; with I-You, I-It, the self-conscious division of the individual, in establishing in Sehertum the distinction between prophetic and apocalyptic thought, a separation that to me personally is just as firm, as is that of the Zwei Glaubensweisen. It is thus all the more important that you now, with regard to my review, bring into clarity your relation to Brunner.

Buber answered promptly on 22 June, 1960:

I certainly did not suspect at the time that another meaning could be attributed to my signature when I called for "the reprint of the work" destroyed by the national socialist regime. On the subject of the 'Division', I refer you, because it is precisely in the sense of what you wrote to me, to an address given by me in the year 1912 that is printed in my book Die Jüdische Bewegung, first edition. You will find the part relevant to Brunner's view on pp. 205f. I plan to remain here only until the end of July, whereas from the beginning of September I plan to stay longer in Zurich and would gladly be able to discuss then this and other matters with you.