Reinier van Straten

Contact: reinier.vanstraten@magd.ox.ac.uk  (unconfirmed)

D.Phil. Candidate at Magdalen College, Oxford, under the supervision of Dr. David Groiser (Brasenose College, Oxford). Thesis Title: God as Dionysus: Martin Buber’s Reception of Friedrich Nietzsche
 
M.St. (Distinction) at Magdalen College, Oxford, under the supervision of Prof. Ritchie Robertson (St. John’s College, Oxford) and Dr. David Groiser (Brasenose College, Oxford). Dissertation: Assimilation and the Individual: Franz Kafka, Martin Buber and the Ostjuden. 
 
B.A. (First Class) in Modern Languages (French and German) at Magdalen College, Oxford. 
 
Research Interests: German Literature and Philosophy; German-Jewish Studies; Literary Theory. 

 

Abstract:

God as Dionysus: Martin Buber’s Reception of Friedrich Nietzsche 

‹Neu erwacht der Stolz, jüdisch zu sein!› Such was Ernst Bloch’s reaction to Martin Buber, who became a beacon of Jewish culture to a generation of German-speaking, virtually assimilated Jews. Buber captivated his young audience because his version of cultural Zionism rendered their questioning of their heritage a quintessential part of their Jewish identity, thereby bridging the gap between their Jewish past and German modernity. In this way, Buber’s oeuvre encompasses the major polarities of German-Jewish experience – between being Jewish and being German, between the traditional and the radical, between the mystical and the philosophical. Later in life he would apply these preoccupations to a wealth of disciplines, from Jewish identity and Hasidism to dialogic philosophy, theology, philosophical anthropology, sociology and psychology.
 
My research examines the problem of the interaction in Buber between German and Jewish culture, between mysticism and philosophy, as a question of aesthetics – the appreciation of art or the application of artistic appreciation to phenomena, whether man-made or natural. Its central argument is that these aesthetic concepts were received into Buber’s thought as a consequence of his literary interaction with Nietzsche, as a writer responding to another writer. Consequently, my research contends that such a profound influence as Nietzsche’s on Buber may change, but cannot simply disappear. By reading Buber’s writings as a literary text – not just as philosophical concepts but as texts per se residing in, and responding to, a broader literary world – my research aims to demonstrate that Buber develops key paradigms of thought formed on the basis of his reading of Nietzsche that continue to adapt beyond the point at which Buber is traditionally considered to abandon Nietzsche.