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The khazar motif in the Kuzari of Judah Halevi

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Chapter Summary

Judah Halevi's Sefer Ha-Kuzari, may well have been the main source of the myth of the Jewish Khazars and its persistence from the twelfth century to the present. Halevi goes on to tell the story of the Khazar king and his conversion, but in a version adapted to his own needs: The king, described as a devout adherent of the Khazar religion, has a dream in which an angel appears to him. This chapter analyzes the book's mode of thought and dialogic art, with a view to examine the significance of the motif from a literary and theoretical standpoint. It first discusses the Judah Halevi's reasons for presenting his arguments in defense of the despised faith as a discourse between the scholar and King of the Khazars, rather than a direct polemical dialogue between scholars of the respective religions and between them and the philosopher.

Keywords: conversion; dialogic art; Jewish Khazars; Judah Halevi; Khazar Motif; Khazar religion; Sefer Ha-Kuzari



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