Next Article in Journal
Did the Imperially Commissioned Manchu Rites for Sacrifices to the Spirits and to Heaven Standardize Manchu Shamanism?
Next Article in Special Issue
The Woman’s Voice in Zionism: Disentangling Paula Winkler from Martin Buber
Previous Article in Journal
Authority without Authenticity: The Zhuangzi’s Genuine Pretending as Socio-Political Strategy
Previous Article in Special Issue
We Spring from that History: Bernard Lazare, between Universalism and Particularism
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Religions 2018, 9(12), 399;

Metanomianism and Religious Praxis in Martin Buber’s Hasidic Tales

Religion Department and Jewish Studies Program, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH 44074, USA
Received: 11 November 2018 / Revised: 27 November 2018 / Accepted: 28 November 2018 / Published: 4 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Modern Jewish Thought)
Full-Text   |   PDF [489 KB, uploaded 5 December 2018]


It is well known that Martin Buber abandoned Jewish law as a binding code. Scholars have identified him accurately as a religious anarchist, and his perspective is best characterized as metanomian—that is, one that locates the essence of religiosity outside of any fixed system, without necessarily opposing that system as a matter of principle. And yet, such general characterizations offer only a very vague picture of Buber’s stance. This paper demonstrates that it is especially illustrative for us to turn to Buber’s Hasidic tales. First of all, precisely because Buber’s concept of practice was irreducible to any static system or code, the genre of narrative conveys far more than any abstract formulation can. Moreover, inasmuch as Buber’s Hasidic tales were his own hermeneutical refractions of earlier sources, which were in themselves teeming with images of practice, our intertextual investigations reveal at once narrative representations of religious life and Buber’s personal interpretations of those narratives. What emerges from this study, then, is a textured and vivid vision of religious practice, which was not merely a peripheral concern but a life-encompassing core of Buber’s thought. View Full-Text
Keywords: Martin Buber; religious anarchism; metanomianism; Hasidism; religious practice; false piety; law; commandment; kavanah Martin Buber; religious anarchism; metanomianism; Hasidism; religious practice; false piety; law; commandment; kavanah
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Shonkoff, S.B. Metanomianism and Religious Praxis in Martin Buber’s Hasidic Tales. Religions 2018, 9, 399.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Religions EISSN 2077-1444 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert Logo copyright Steve Bridenbaugh/UUA
Back to Top