The Ring Parable Analysis

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Nathan the Wise is a prominent and respected Jew in the city of Jerusalem, in the 12th century. INSERT INTRODUCTION HERE
The Ring Parable is a cunning and irresistible tale told by Nathan to the Sultan Saladin, when asked to prove his intelligence. Saladin poses the question, “Which religion, which law makes the most sense to you?” (Lessing 3.5), to which Nathan replies in the form of a parable: The Ring Parable. Initially, this question perplexes Nathan, because he is prepared to loan money, not truth. Moreover, he cannot answer this question candidly by announcing Judaism as the “true religion” because he risks insulting Saladin. He, also, cannot insult his own religion by announcing Islam, Saladin’s faith, as superior. Being as “wise”
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He sidestepped the question of his own opinion of the best religion by asserting that each follower of a religion deems his own religion to be superior. Nathan explains to Saladin that we subscribe to the religion we were raised with, by asking, “Well, whose faith and belief are we least likely to call into question? Isn’t it our own, that of the people to whom we belong?” (Lessing 3.7). If there is not faith in the power of one’s own religion, the religion ceases to exist, just as the power of the ring ceases to exist without faith in its abilities. Nathan also uses the Ring Parable to explain that only God can distinguish the true religion. The believer of a faith is incapable of knowing whether their religion is best. He cannot exclude his own religion, but he also cannot be sure that it is his. Just like the parable, the father is not accessible to consult on which ring is true. God is not accessible to man to ask which religion is the truth. Nathan uses the judge in the parable to explain that each religion should prove its truth through kindness and absolute love to all. One religion should not be scornful of others in order to justify its superiority. Each religion should respect and value the positions of other religions while still staying true to its own. Nathan uses this parable to preach religious tolerance to
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