Ibn Gabirol and Judah ha-Levi’s Usage of Dialogue: The Role of the Disciple in <i>Fons Vitae</i> and that of the King in <i>Kitāb al-Khazarī</i>
KeywordsSolomon Ibn Gabirol
Religions. Mythology. Rationalism
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AbstractThe literary framework of Solomon Ibn Gabirol&#8217;s <i>Fons Vitae</i> is a conversation between a master and a disciple. In this article, the nature of the disciple&#8217;s questions will be analyzed in order to explain the advantages of the dialogical process in Ibn Gabirol&#8217;s thought. The literary framework of Judah ha-Levi&#8217;s <i>Kitāb al-Khazarī</i> is similar to that of <i>Fons Vitae</i>. Ha-Levi&#8217;s composition is built as a conversation that allegedly took place between the king of the Khazars and a Jewish scholar (<i>ḥaver</i>). Analysis of the king&#8217;s responses to the ḥaver shows that the king did not fully understand the <i>ḥaver</i>&#8217;s lessons, in which the deep meaning of Judaism is taught. In this article, the king&#8217;s responses will be analyzed and, likewise, the question of Judah ha-Levi&#8217;s intention in using this literary sophistication. As is shown in this article both famous Andalusian poets and thinkers, R. Judah ha-Levi and R. Solomon Ibn Gabirol, masters of linguistic phrasing and style, used the dialogical form not only as an opportunity to present their world views, but also as a method by which to critique their own philosophies.