Martin Buber Correspondence – Digital Facsimile Historical-Critical Edition


This website presents the current stage of a planned joint project of the Friedrich Schiller-Universität Jena (FSU) and the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main (GU). The project is named Martin Buber Correspondence – Digital Facsimile Historical-Critical Edition (MBC). As the name suggests, MBC aims to realize a digital commentary edition of the whole correspondence of one of the most prominent figures of German speaking Jewry of the last century – probably the most significant, if we take into account reconciliatory issues: the philosopher of religion Martin Buber. 


MBC is conceived as a digital facsimile historical-critical edition. This means that FSU and GU agree concerning the establishment of MBC as a digital (not printed) open-source edition. MBC will be available through the websites of all the universities involved: FSU, GU, and NLI. MBC, as a digital facsimile historical-critical edition, will allow combined searches (letters will be available in chronological order as well as following the alphabetical order of the correspondents as well as through geographical references), network analysis will be organized through hypertextual links. 


The reader will have the possibility to access: 
  1. A facsimile reproduction of Martin Buber’s correspondence in its entirety. MBC will present a colour high resolution image of every letter (best state of the art). This means: all the letters will be presented in their original hand- or typewritten form, digitalized directly from the original ones, available at the NLI or at other institutions. Drawings – the correspondence includes some drawings (e. g of Hermann Hesse, Emil Rudolf Weiss and others) on letters and postcards, for instance – will be reproduced as well.
  2. A transcription of the letter. In addition to the high-resolution digital Image of the letter each letter will be transcribed. Transcription will be achieved by combining qualified scientific assistants and digital humanities softwares, to ensure that it conforms to the best state of the art. For deciphering difficult handwritings we will have a qualified person working exclusively on them.
  3. A commentary – so-called “Wörter und Sachen Erläuterung” about personalities, works, geographical references and so on. An overview about the history of the “Briefpartnerschaft” will also be present.
  4. Biographical notes. They will introduce every correspondent, focusing on his presence and his impact on Buber’s life and works through his epistolary exchange with the philosopher.
  5. A translation. German-written letters will be presented in their original German version. Letters written in other languages will be presented in their original version and then be translated into German. A complete translation of the letters into English (creating a bilingual edition of the correspondence, in order to make it universally accessible), is currently taken into account.