A Dialogic Theology of Migration: Martin Buber and Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy

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Martin Buber (1878–1965) and Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy (1888–1973) were influential theologians and intellectuals known for their heterodox theologies and for their visions of a society based on dialogue. Both experienced migration. Buber emigrated during his teens from Vienna to Galicia, then, after his marriage, from Vienna to Germany, and finally from Germany to Palestine in 1938. Rosenstock-Huessy, a Christian theologian of Jewish origin, fled Germany in the wake of the Nazi rise to power in 1933. Independently and in different contexts, these thinkers employed their theologies in the 1930s and 1940s, advocating for immigration against the prevailing ideas of nativism and developing an (embryonic) theory and praxis of dialogic integration. Both sought to replace the popular totalistic and intolerant melting-pot ideology. This essay explores Buber’s and Rosenstock-Huessy’s approaches to immigration and its reception, the influence of their immigration experiences, and the relation to their approaches to other aspects of their thought. It explores the nativist theological approaches they opposed and the anti-nativism that might have inspired them. Finally, this essay examines the novelty of their approaches; while their theological advocacy of immigration was unique only in their times, their dialogical approach to integration stands out, even with regard to the contemporary multicultural approach, due to its theological edge.

Original languageEnglish
Article number42
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • Buber
  • Rosenstock-Huessy
  • Zionism
  • dialogue
  • immigration

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies


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