The book known in Hebrew as the Kuzari from twelfth-century Sefardic Spain and one of its iconic texts was written by Rabbi Yehuda Halevi and is called in Arabic, כתאב אלרד ואלדליל פי אלדין אלד'ליל, usually translated with the English “religion,” as “The Book of Refutation and Proof of the Despised Religion.” Modern Hebrew translators give דת dat for Arabic דין dīn, just as English translators give “religion,” presupposing that which has to be interrogated and shown, to wit what did the author of the Kuzari and his contemporaneous translator, Rabbi Yehuda Ibn Tibbon (1120 – 1190) mean when they used the Arabic term dīn or Hebrew dat, or better put, how did they use those words? We dare not read back from modern usages to interpret these medieval texts without risking simply burying their linguistic-cultural world under the rubble of a modern one, the very contrary of an archaeology. My hypothesis to be developed in the rest of this paper is that Judeo-Arabic (at least) dīn corresponds best to nomos as used by Josephus and (with a very important mutatis mutandis qualification) to Torah as well. Some powerful evidence for this claim comes from ibn Tibbon’s translation of Halevi’s Arabic into Hebrew.1
For ibn Tibbon’s Hebrew, I have used Yehudah HaLevi, The Kuzari: In Defense of the Despised Faith, newly translated and annotated by N. Daniel Korobkin (Jerusalem; Nanuet, NY: Feldheim Publishers, 2009); Judah ha-Levi, trans., Hartwig Hirschfeld, Judah Hallevi’s Kitab al Khazari, The Semitic Series (London: G. Routledge, 1905). For the Arabic, I have consulted Yehudah Halevi, Sefer Hakuzari: Maqor Wetargum, ed. and trans. Yosef ben David Qafih (Kiryat Ono: Mekhon Mishnat ha-Rambam, 1996). I have also had the great privilege of being able to consult the (as yet unpublished) translation of the Arabic by Prof. Barry S. Kogan, for which privilege I thank him. My translations given here of the Arabic text follow Kogan’s renderings except for when I feel that he has used terminology that is anachronistic, such as “religion,” which is, of course, the whole novellum of my research here.
Barton, Carlin A.; Boyarin, Daniel 2016. Imagine No Religion: How Modern Categories Hide Ancient Realities. Bronx, N.Y.: Fordham University Press.
Dmitrieva [sostavlenie i obshchaia redaktsiia] L.A.; Likhacheva, D.S 1984. Pamiatniki Literatury Drevnei Rusi: Konets XV-Pervaia Polovina XVI Veka. Pamiatniki Literatury Drevnei Rusi. Moskva: “Khudozh. lit-ra”.
Fitzgerald, Timothy 2000. The Ideology of Religious Studies. New York: Oxford University Press.
Fowles, Severin M. 2013. An Archaeology of Doings: Secularism and the Study of Pueblo Religion. Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press.
Glei, Reinhold; Reichmuth, Stefan 2012. “Religion Between Last Judgement, Law and Faith: Koranic Dīn and Its Rendering in Latin Translations of the Koran.” Religion42.2. 247 – 271.
ha-Levi, Judah. Judah Hallevi’s Kitab al Khazari. Translated by Hartwig Hirschfeld. The Semitic Series. London: G. Routledge, 1905.
HaLevi, Yehudah. The Kuzari: In Defense of the Despised Faith. Newly translated and annotated by N. Daniel Korobkin. Jerusalem: Feldheim Publishers, 2009.
HaLevi, Yehudah. Sefer Hakuzari: Maqor Wetargum. Edited and translated by Yosef ben David Qafih. Kiryat Ono: Mekhon Mishnat ha-Rambam, 1996.
Krinis, Ehud 2013. “The Arabic Background of the Kuzari.” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy21. 1 – 56.
Reed, Annette Yoshiko 2016. “Categorization, Collection, and the Construction of Continuity: 1 Enoch and 3 Enoch in and Beyond ‘Apocalypticism’ and ‘Mysticism’.” Unpublished paper.
Archiv für Religionsgeschichte is a specialised journal dealing primarily with religions of the ancient world. The different aspects of the field of research are covered in essays, reports on the main areas of religious studies and in individual articles.
01 Jan 1999
German, English, French
Susanne Bickel, David Frankfurter, Sarah Iles Johnston, Gabriella Pironti, Jörg Rüpke, John Scheid and Zsuzsanna Várhelyi