Balthasar’s slim volume on the Jewish thinker Martin Buber, the great philosopher of the “I-Thou,” is itself an exercise in dialogue between Judaism and Christianity. Balthasar’s concern, however, is not merely to foster interreligious good-will. Above all, he wishes to highlight both the inescapability of Jewish-Christian encounter and the intractable mutual otherness of both parties, which face each other from opposite sides of the same gulf. There is nothing easy about such dialogical wrestling, but this very difficulty makes it worth pursuing in Balthasar’s eyes. The Christian, he thinks, stands to gain a deeper appreciation of Christ’s fulfillment of the Old Covenant – precisely by exposing himself to the irreducible otherness of the Jewish understanding of God, Israel, and the world.
The first edition of Balthasar's book was published by Hegner in 1958.