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Embarking on a journey of faith:

The Khazar king rejects the Christian scholar's method because it relies on uncritically accepted beliefs rather than logical reasoning. He acknowledges the power of lived experience and established truths but argues that the Christian claims are presented "suddenly" and require further investigation. He seeks a system that combines logic and evidence to verify the truth of religious beliefs.

The Khazar King disagrees with the Islamic scholar's arguments for two reasons. Firstly, the King believes that a miracle confined to a specific language would not be universally recognizable. Secondly, he thinks that many people must witness a miracle, which must be so incontestable that explanations like magic or imagination are implausible.

The ideas above leads him in a

The Hebrew Faith [Part A]:

  1. The Rabbi replied: I believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, who led the children of Israel out of Egypt with signs and miracles; who fed them in the desert and gave them the land, after having made them traverse the sea and the Jordan in a miraculous way; who sent Moses with His law, and subsequently thousands of prophets, who confirmed His law by promises to the observant, and threats to the disobedient. Our belief is comprised in the Torah--a very large domain.
  2. Al Khazari: I had not intended to ask any Jew, because I am aware of their reduced condition and narrow-minded views, as their misery left them nothing commendable. Now shouldst thou, O Jew, not have said that thou believest in the Creator of the world, its Governor and Guide, and in Him who created and keeps thee, and such attributes which serve as evidence for every believer, and for the sake of which He pursues justice in order to resemble the Creator in His wisdom and justice?
  3. The Rabbi: That which thou dost express is religion based on speculation and system, the research of thought, but open to many doubts. Now ask the philosophers, and thou wilt find that they do not agree on one action or one principle, since some doctrines can be established by arguments, which are only partially satisfactory, and still much less capable of being proved.
  4. Al Khazari: That which thou sayest now, O Jew, seems to be more to the point than the beginning, and I should like to hear more.
  5. The Rabbi: Surely the beginning of my speech was just the proof, and so evident that it requires no other argument.
  6. Al Khazari: How so?
  7. The Rabbi: Allow me to make a few preliminary remarks, for I see thee disregarding and depreciating my words.
  8. Al Khazari: Let me hear thy remarks.
  9. The Rabbi: If thou wert told that the King of India was an excellent man, commanding admiration, and deserving his high reputation, one whose actions were reflected in the justice which rules his country and the virtuous ways of his subjects, would this bind thee to revere him?
  10. Al Khazari: How could this bind me, whilst I am not sure if the justice of the Indian people is natural, and not dependent on their king, or due to the king or both?
  11. The Rabbi: But if his messenger came to thee bringing presents which thou knowest to be only procurable in India, and in the royal palace, accompanied by a letter in which it is distinctly stated from whom it comes, and to which are added drugs to cure thy diseases, to preserve thy health, poisons for thy enemies, and other means to fight and kill them without battle, would this make thee beholden to him?
  12. Al Khazari: Certainly. For this would remove my former doubt that the Indians have a king. I should also acknowledge that a proof of his power and dominion has reached me.
  13. The Rabbi: How wouldst thou, then, if asked, describe him?
  14. Al Khazari: In terms about which I am quite clear, and to these I could add others which were at first rather doubtful, but are no longer so.
  15. The Rabbi: In this way I answered thy first question.    In the same strain spoke Moses to Pharaoh, when he told him: 'The God of the Hebrews sent me to thee,' viz. the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For Abraham was well known to the nations, who also knew that the divine spirit was in contact with the patriarchs, cared for them, and performed miracles for them. He did not say: 'The God of heaven and earth,' nor 'my Creator and thine sent me.'                  In the same way God commenced His speech to the assembled people of Israel: 'I am the God whom you worship, who has led you out of the land of Egypt,' but He did not say: 'I am the Creator of the world and your Creator.'                     Now in the same style I spoke to thee, a Prince of the Khazars, when thou didst ask me about my creed. I answered thee as was fitting, and is fitting for the whole of Israel who knew these things, first from personal experience, and afterwards through uninterrupted tradition, which is equal to the former.

Questions to sharpen understanding of the Text above:

  1. What evidence does the Rabbi use to support his belief in God? (Focuses on details from the Rabbi's answer)
  2. Why does the Khazar King find the Rabbi's initial response to his question unsatisfactory? (understand the King's perspective)
  3. How does the Rabbi justify his way of answering the King's question about his belief? (Analyze the Rabbi's reasoning)
  4. How does this passage reflect faith vs. reason in religious belief? 
  5. Can a perspective be identified in the way the Rabbi presents his arguments?
  6. If so, what is that perspective, and what are its implications for interpreting the text?

[below, you can find more questions that will help you to finetune question no' 6]

  • Does the Rabbi present all sides of the issue?
  • Does the Rabbi use logical arguments?
  • Does the Rabbi rely on credible evidence?
  • Do the Rabbi's arguments align with my worldview?

Hebrew Faith [Part B]
A Unique 'GOD' who relates to the Hebrew nation 'only'?!

  1. Al Khazari: If this be so, then your belief is confined to yourselves?
  2. The Rabbi: Yes; but any Gentile who joins us unconditionally shares our good fortune, without, however, being quite equal to us. If the Law were binding on us only because God created us, the white and the black man would be equal, since He created them all. But the Law was given to us because He led us out of Egypt, and remained attached to us, because we are the pick of mankind.
  3. Al Khazari: Jew, I see thee quite altered, and thy words are poor after having been so pleasant.
  4. The Rabbi: Poor or pleasant, give me thy attention, and let me express myself more fully.
  5. Al Khazari: Say what thou wilt.
  6. The Rabbi: The laws of nature comprise nurture, growth, and propagation, with their powers and all conditions attached thereto. This is particularly the case with plants and animals, to the exclusion of earth, stones, metals, and elements.
  7. Al Khazari: This is a maxim which requires explanation, though it be true.
  8. The Rabbi: As regards the soul, it is given to all animated beings. The result is movement, will power, external as well as internal senses and such like.
  9. Al Khazari: This, too, cannot be contradicted.
  10. The Rabbi: Intellect is man's birthright above all living beings. This leads to the development of his faculties, his home, his country, from which arise administrative and regulative laws.
  11. Al Khazari: This is also true.
  12. The Rabbi: Which is the next highest degree?
  13. Al Khazari: The degree of great sages.
  14. The Rabbi: I only mean that degree which separates those who occupy it from the physical point of view, as the plant is separated from inorganic things, or man from animals. The differences as to quantity, however, are endless, as they are only accidental, and do not really form a degree.
  15. Al Khazari: If this be so, then there is no degree above man among tangible things.
  16. The Rabbi: If we find a man who walks into the fire without hurt, or abstains from food for some time without starving, on whose face a light shines which the eye cannot bear, who is never ill, nor ages, until having reached his life's natural end, who dies spontaneously just as a man retires to his couch to sleep on an appointed day and hour, equipped with the knowledge of what is hidden as to past and future: is such a degree not visibly distinguished from the ordinary human degree?
  17. Al Khazari: This is, indeed, the divine and seraphic degree, if it exists at all. It belongs to the province of the divine influence, but not to that of the intellectual, human, or natural world.
  18. The Rabbi: These are some of the characteristics of the undoubted prophets through whom God made Himself manifest, and who also made known that there is a God who guides them as He wishes, according to their obedience or disobedience.                 He revealed to those prophets that which was hidden, and taught them how the world was created, how the generations prior to the Flood followed each other, and how they reckoned their descent from Adam.             He described the Flood and the origin of the 'Seventy Nations' from Shem, Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah; how the languages were split up, and where men sought their habitations; how arts arose, how they built cities, and the chronology from Adam up to this day.

Questions to sharpen understanding of the Text above:

  1. What evidence does the Rabbi provide for the special status of the Jewish people in his religion? (Focus on the Rabbi's arguments for Jewish chosenness)
  2. What hierarchy of beings and abilities does the Rabbi present?
  3. According to the Rabbi, what characteristics distinguish a prophet from an ordinary human? (Analyzes the definition of prophethood)
  4. How does this passage reflect the concept of revelation in Judaism? (Analysis and interpret the source of religious knowledge)
  5. What assumptions about human nature does the Rabbi seem to make? (Foucos & Evaluate the underlying beliefs in the Rabbi's argument)


    Unlocking UnderstandingA Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering Texts

    1. Listen and Engage: The first step is actively listening to the Text during your initial read-through. Try to understand the main topics discussed in it.

    2. Comprehend the Text: After your initial read-through, try to understand the author's main ideas. Try to capture the spirit of the Text and its underlying purpose.

    3. Imagination and Connection: Use your understanding of the Text to relate it to familiar scenarios or phenomena you know about. How do the topics discussed in the Text compare to real-life situations?

    4. Delve Deeper into the Text: Once you've grasped the essential components of the Text, revisit it. Try comprehending finer details such as numerical data, examples, and analyses that help you understand the subject matter more deeply.

    5. Reread with Purpose: After delving deeper into the Text, reread it. This time, try to understand the point at which the Text was written without focusing solely on the details. Concentrate on the main ideas and central purpose of the Text.

    With dedication and perseverance, you can unlock the secrets of any text and gain invaluable insights that will enrich your understanding of the world around you. Active engagement is crucial for achieving success in your reading endeavors. Listening attentively, understanding deeply, and connecting the Text to your experiences is essential. Take the time to delve into the finer details, and don't be afraid to ask questions or seek help when needed.

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