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Extra resources for Aesthetics of Renewal: Martin Buber's Early Representation of Hasidism as Kulturkritik
He presented a more epistemologically rigorous conception of Verstehen, focused on the conditions of a veritable understanding of a text or that of any other spir itual expression based on its nexus of life (Lebenszusammenhang). For Dilthey, the spirit animating a text is grounded in a particular expression of life (Lebensäußerung). ”4 By virtue of empathetic understanding—as the act of distilling the psychic expression of another individuality from its work and complementing it with one’s own experience—the experience of the other becomes the indis pensable path to self-understanding.
They shared his fascination with the ecstatic and with the mythic imagination, which have a rhythm of their own and remained unaffected by time and space. Drawn to religious themes, Buber’s cross-cultural collection of Ekstatische Konfessionen (Ecstatic confessions, 1909) offered Expressionists new insights into the recesses of the human soul. Religious spirituality now appeared as a means to expand one’s consciousness, to transcend the self-enclosed reality of the subject. Buber opened a window into a world beyond the stifling binaries guarded by bourgeois culture, a world in which the boundaries between the inner and outer reality, male and female, spiritual and material were bridged.
The conflation of excerpts from Hasidic sources with a didactic commentary disqualifies this work as an anthology. But then again, as selections, all anthologies are implicitly commentaries, and, when translation is involved, representation is invariably shaped on the anvil of interpretation. Religious commentary, as Griffiths notes, follows in each religion tradition-specific criteria. Judaism as a tradition of commentary and interpretation is grounded in the quest to understand the word of God as transmitted in the sacred text of the written Torah.