Martin Buber, Paths in Utopia (1949).


The translator would like to express his most cordial thanks to the author for his great help in the preparation of this volume, both as regards the translation and the correction of proofs. He is also indebted to Mr. Paul Derrick for checking the titles of certain books herein mentioned.


The intention underlying this book is to give genetic account of what Marx and the Marxists call "Utopian Socialism", with particular reference to its postulate of a renewal of society through a renewal of its cell-tissue. I am not concerned to survey the development of an idea, but to sketch the picture of an idea in process of development. The fundamental question in the making of such a picture is -- as in the making of all pictures -- the question of what one has to leave out. Only so much of the massive material seemed to me to be relevant as was essential to a consideration of the idea itself. It is not the false turnings that are important for us, but the single broad highway into which they invariably lead. From the historical process the idea itself rises up before eyes.

There was yet another, if narrower, vista that had to be opened: the one shewing the bold but precarious attempts to bring the idea into reality. Only after that had been done was the ground cleared for a critical exposition of the theoretical and practical relation of Marxism to the idea of structural renewal -- a relation which could only be hinted at in an introductory manner at the beginning of the book. At the end, in a kind of epilogue, I had to speak of one particular attempt, the immediate knowledge of which was the occasion for writing this book. I have naturally not described or reported it in detail, only thrown light on its inner connexion with the idea -- as an attempt that did not fail.

The chapter preceding the epilogue sums up my own attitude to the idea, which could otherwise only be read between the lines; moreover it was necessary to point out its significance in the present hour of decision.

The book was completed in the spring of 1945; the Hebrew edition appeared in the following year.

Martin Buber.

Jerusalem 1949.

Martin Buber was born in Vienna and studied at the Universities of Vienna, Leipzig, Berlin and Munich. He was professor of religion and ethics at the University of Frankfurt from 1924 to 1933. From 1938 until his retirement in 1951 he was professor of social philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

One of the most outstanding religious philosophers of our time, Dr. Buber has been active in the Zionist movement and the revival of Hasidic thought. His works include a German translation of the Bible, For the Sake of Heaven, Good and Evil, I and Thou, Israel and the World, Between Man and Man, which has already been published as a Beacon Paperback, and numerous other books and articles in the fields of Biblical scholarship, religious existentialism, and comparative religion.