Moreno’s Influence on Martin Buber

From the Winter 07 issue of the ASGPP Newsletter (download pdf)

Message to the Membership from Zerka Moreno
Moreno’s Influence on Martin Buber

Item follows.

Dr. Robert Waldl from Vienna, who presented at both the New York and Miami conferences, has discovered that J.L. Moreno influenced Martin Buber in his ideas of The Encounter. Moreno started his publications from 1914 onwards under the title series Einladung zu einer Begegnung, or Invitations to an Encounter, predating Buber’s Ich un Du, or I and Thou by 9 years. Dr. Waldl is planning to publish his PhD thesis in German and we hope for an English translation in the not too distant future.

The significance of this discovery cannot be overesti- mated considering Buber’s influence on philosophy, theology and psychology. While it is true that Buber broadened the idea of The Encounter, he did not create instruments for it to occur. Moreno literally invited such meetings and furthermore, produced the various instruments we now use to facilitate the human encounter, sociometry, group psychotherapy, psychodrama, sociodrama. Furthermore. Buber failed to give credit to three other persons with whom he had contact, one of whom was his poet wife. Robert Waldl even gave clear evidence that Buber used practically the same rather eccentric language Moreno had employed. They knew each other because Moreno published a Buber piece in 1919 in the magazine Moreno edited, Der Neuen Daimon. It was a literary piece about Chassidism and had no relationship to the encounter. There is evidence of that connection from a handwritten letter dated September 26, 1918, from Moreno to Buber, confirming receipt of the latter’s manuscript and even the payment made to Buber. The 1918 edition of the Daimon magazine contains an announcement of both their writings with that of Moreno’s Einladung zu einer Begegnung smack under that of the Chassidic story of Buber. These items of evidence silence the subsequent discussion which had assigned to Buber the originating of these ideas since Moreno was the younger of the two.

Professor Eliot Sorel of Washington, DC is organiz- ing a meeting in Romania in summer of 2007, honoring J.L. Moreno who was born in that country. The city of Sibiu, along with Luxemburg, has been designated as a center of European culture and 2007 is also the year in which Romania is joining the European Union. Dr. Sorel considered this the right opportunity to include J.L. Moreno in the celebration. The Romanian Classic Psychodrama Association, among others, is to be potential partners in this undertaking which includes also the International Association of Group Psycho- therapy. Anyone interested in knowing more may write to me at:

It is very satisfying to know that history shows us the many ways in which Moreno left a lasting impact and that some of these are now coming to light

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