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The Kuzari: In Defense of the Despised Faith Hardcover – January 1, 2009

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$34.97 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"In this beautifully produced, fluidly translated, clearly annotated edition, we have the easiest entrée to HaLevi's thought."
--Rabbi David Wolpe, The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, April 2, 2009

"His beautiful easy-to-read rendition of the classic masterpiece of Rabbi Yehudah HaLevi offers much to both the layman and the scholar."
--Daniel Keren, The Jewish Connection (New York), February 19, 2010

Translated and annotated by N. Daniel Korobkin, this new edition of The Kuzari: In Defense of the Despised Faith was inspired by the author's need for a suitable text to use in his synagogue's philosophy class. Upon investigation, he discovered that only two translations were available.... Both texts were unacceptable, but instead of changing topics or texts, Korobkin decided to create a new annotated translation of the Kuzari, based upon the first Hebrew translation of HaLevi's work and incorporating the comments of classic commentaries. The result is a wonderful, easy-to-read text, that loses none of the excitement of the original, nor the depth of discussion.... When necessary, key Hebrew words remain in their original (this is especially true of his section on Hebrew grammar) and others are transliterated. But in general, the style of the writing is simple and clear.... Finally, after so many years, the English speaking world is able to study the Kuzari in all its glory and without unnecessary difficulty. --Jewish Book World, Leonard A. Matanky

About the Author

A true product of Spain's Golden Age, Yehuda HaLevi was born in Toledo in the year 1075, and raised in an intellectual climate where he became well-versed in Jewish scholarship, Arabic literature, as well as Greek science and philosophy. He was a physician, prolific poet, philosopher, and communal leader. To defend Judaism against its detractors, he authored The Kuzari, which took 20 years to complete. HaLevi died in the year 1141, but his volumes of poetry and philosophy continue to inspire and inform through eloquent translations and repeated printings of his many enduring and popular works.

About the translator:>/b>
Rabbi N. Daniel Korobkin received his rabbinic ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College. He is the spiritual leader of Kehillat Yavneh in Los Angeles, CA, where he resides with his wife and children. He directs synagogue services for the Orthodox Union on the west coast, and continues to pursue medieval Jewish studies as a doctoral candidate at UCLA.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 724 pages
  • Publisher: Feldheim Publishers; 2 edition (January 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583308423
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583308424
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 7.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #773,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"The Kuzari" is a classic work of Jewish philosophy, written in 1140 by celebrated Jewish poet and philosopher Rabbi Yehudah HaLevi.

Rabbi Korobkin has done a wonderful job in presenting a fluid, clear English translation of this fundamental book of Judaism. He provides special appendices for understanding difficult subjects like Hebrew grammar, Greek philosophy (which was the science of the time), the international date line, etc. Footnotes in the text indicate R. Yehuda HaLevi's sources and explain unclear passages.

My only major complaint is that Korobkin has a tendency to insert explanations of commentaries inside the translation, instead of leaving them for explanatory footnotes. This makes the text flow more easily, but takes away from the authenticity of the translation.

This English translation originally came out in 1998, and is based on the classic 1167 Hebrew translation of Ibn Tibbon (from the original Arabic). In 2010 Rabbi Yitzchak Shilat produced an excellent new translation of The Kuzari from Arabic into modern Hebrew.

An inexpensive but well-executed Kindle translation of The Kuzari is available at The Kuzari: Arguments in Defense of Judaism
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David L. Cairns on April 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the best translations that I have seen and it will give you new insights into Judiasm and the value it has to the world today!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Eric Maroney on March 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The Kuzari: In Defense of the Despised Faith, by Yehudah HaLevi, is considered a classic Jewish book. It is well-known, so I won't go on very long about the topic of the book. This is an essential read for anyone who wants to get a clear picture of HaLevi, the great medieval Jewish poet and superstar. His one extended work on strictly intellectual and religious topics, and in prose, this work is a must for anyone who wants to get a glimpse into HaLevi's mind and world.

His concerns will be remote to the average reader. He spends a great deal of time arguing against the legitimacy of the Karaites and Jewish philosophy. These concerns are extremely remote for modern readers, and may turn many people off to book. This is not spellbinding reading, even for people interested in such arcane matters.

So, by all means read The Kurzari, get it under your belt. But realize ahead of time that you are entering another world.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Israel Drazin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Yehudah Halevi (1071-1141) was the foremost exponent of the notion that Jews are the chosen people, which he explained in an extremely problematical manner. He was a Spanish Jewish poet who composed a book on Jewish theology that captured the attention of many Jews. The book is taught in a host of synagogues, with weekly lectures covering most of its five parts, usually by people who do not recognize the problems existing in Halevi's views.
Halevi explains the book's purpose at the outset of his volume. "I was asked to state what arguments and replies I could bring to bear against the attacks of philosophers of other religions, and also against [Jewish] sectarians who attacked the rest of Israel."
This opening sentence captures the volume's polemical tone. The book is not a rational system of philosophy, but an apologetic theology arguing for the supremacy of the Jewish people.

Halevi: Jews are superior biologically
Halevi's The Kuzari imagines that the king of the Kuzars decides to adopt a religion, and plans to choose between Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and philosophy. He invites a representative of each of the four groups and discusses their thoughts and teachings with them. As a result of his discussions, the king decides that he and his nation of Kuzar will convert to Judaism.
The king is persuaded, among other reasons, because the Jew tells the king that Jews are unique. Their nature is different than that of other people. Jews, the Jewish visitor insists, are genetically superior, with a perfected religious faculty incorporated in their soul. This unique faculty is activated when Jews observe Jewish rituals, and the faculty makes it possible for Jews, and only Jews, to come into contact with God and receive divine help.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Avromi on January 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rabbi Korobkin's translation of the Kuzari is very useful. I am currently studying this book with 15 people and we are all enjoying it.
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