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Apologetic Works

Judah Halevi, Sefer ha-Kuzari.

Venice : Garah, 1594.

Judah Halevi, 1075-1141.

Halevi, a distinguished and influential medieval poet, philosopher, and physician, exemplifies Jewish culture in Muslim Andalusia. Ha-Kuzari (“The Khazar”), written in 1140 in Arabic, was a  major work of religious philosophy. An allegorical story of a Khazari king’s quest for religious truth, it describes and promotes Judaism’s superiority to other faiths.

Born in Spain, the well-educated Halevi traveled and worked across Andalusia, North Africa, Egypt and Spain as conditions for Jews warranted. Shortly after completing Ha-Kuzari, he emigrated to the Holy Land.

The JPL’s copy, the third edition of a 1506 Hebrew translation, was published by celebrated Venetian printer Giovanni di Gara. It was the first to include a line-by-line commentary, written by Judah Moscato (circa 1535-1590), an Italian rabbi, around 1589.