Dr Tom Kerns
North Seattle Community College


Study Questions for

Martin Buber's The Way of Man


  1. What is the key message of the first story (pp 9-10), and why is it said "But his heart trembled?"

  2. What is the key point of the second section, "The Particular Way?"

  3. Explain, as best you can, the point Buber is making on p 18, lines 8-24 (i.e., the 12 lines that begin "Everyone has in him something precious..." and end with "Thus a man finds his way").

  4. In section III, what do you see as the difference between "patchwork" and "resolution?"

  5. What do you consider "oneness of soul" (in section III) to consist of?

  6. Explain the main message of Section IV. (Much of it is clarified on pp. 28-29; in the Citadel edition which includes "The Ten Rungs" this is pp 25-26).

  7. Try to think of an example, perhaps from your own experience or from imagination, that can illustrate this Hasidic principle that says: conflicts we have with another person are often just mirror images of the same conflict going on within our own psyche. Please describe that example.

  8. What does Buber mean in Section V, by not being "preoccupied with oneself?" How might forgiveness of oneself (or forgiveness of another) fit into that?

  9. What do you see as the main theme of Section VI.

  10. How might there be a "treasure" buried in your own present life situation? What might the "treasure" be that can be found only in your particular place?

  11. What do you think Buber means by the first line on p 41?
    (In the Citadel edition which includes The Ten Rungs, this question refers to the quote on the last page of the Way of Man, 8 lines up from the bottom of the page.)


(If you like, see the additional -- not required -- personal reflection questions for The Way of Man)