The Kuzari is one of the basic books of Jewish literature, a required text in the library of every educated Jew--and of every educated Christian who would understand the religion of Israel. The author, foremost poet and thinker of the Jewish Middle Ages, offers clear and usable delineations of the religion of Israel. In the easy style of a Platonic dialogue, he presents first a critique of Christianity and Islam, and then explores the nature of Israel's first religious faculty, the question of the "chosen" people, the implications of a "minority religion." Against those who accommodate to prevailing philosophical trends, Judah Halevi is blunt, frank and uncompromising in his discourse on the central teachings of Judaism: revelation, prophecy, the laws, the Holy Land, and the role of the Jewish people as spokesman for religious faith.
About Jehuda Halevi
Judah Halevi (born circa 1080) is the greatest poet and one of the profoundest thinkers Judaism has had since the closing of the canon. He plumbed the depths in religion and reflection on history, and he made claims for Israel so strange and inordinate, that he would be merely an anomaly unless profoundly related to his time and viewed centrally from that history and destiny in which he was rooted and of which he is clearly the deepest expression and interpretation. The overshadowing event of his time was the struggle of Christian and Moslem for Spain; and, farther afield, the mastery of the Holy Land. In Spain, the community of Israel was ground between upper and nether millstones; and in Palestine, the last spark of hope seemed finally extinguished with the advent of the Crusaders. Israel appeared to be doomed. Judah Halevi's poetry and prose are the response evoked by that world situation. --from the Introduction by Henry Slonimsky
"We can still learn much from Judah Halevi... his serene allegiance to history and the long-range forces of destiny high above the immediate brute realities and implacable forces of nature. His exposition of powerlessness as a superior counterpart to the forces of state supremacy..." --Salo Baron
"In defending Judaism... against the philosophers, he was conscious of defending morality itself and therewith the cause, not only of Judaism, but of mankind at large." --Leo Strauss