Sabbatai Sevi: The Mystical Messiah, 1626-1676

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Princeton University Press, 1975 - History - 1000 pages
4 Reviews

A richly detailed account of the only messianic movement ever to engulf the entire Jewish world.

The twentieth century produced a galaxy of extraordinary Jewish historians. Gershom Scholem stands out among them for the richness and power of his historical imagination. Born in Berlin in 1897, Scholem became a Zionist as a young student in a revolt against his family's bourgeois and assimilated life. He learned Hebrew and studied Kabbalah, the world of mystical teachings that had become marginalized--indeed stigmatized--within the mainstream rationalist Jewish tradition. In 1923, Scholem emigrated to Palestine and eventually joined the faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, publishing groundbreaking studies in the field of Jewish mysticism.

In the 1930s, Scholem's scholarship turned to an obscure kabbalist rabbi of seventeenth-century Turkey, Sabbatai Sevi, who aroused a fervent following that spread over the Jewish world after he declared himself to be the Messiah. The movement suffered a severe blow when Sevi was forced to convert to Islam, but a clandestine sect survived. A Bollingen Foundation grant enabled Scholem to complete the original Hebrew edition of his biography in 1957. Bollingen also supported R. J. Zwi Werblowsky's masterful English translation. A monumental and revisionary work of Jewish historiography, Sabbatai Sevi stands out for its combination of philological and empirical authority and for its passion. It is widely esteemed as one of Scholem's masterworks. The author himself always regarded the Princeton/Bollingen edition as a highlight of his scholarship.

  

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Review: Sabbatai Sevi: The Mystical Messiah, 1626-1676

User Review  - Smoothw - Goodreads

Almost too scholarly to be readable to a generalist like me, but still a staggering amount of research into an interesting historical figure. Read full review

Review: Sabbatai Sevi: The Mystical Messiah, 1626-1676

User Review  - Ariel - Goodreads

Great but so long and so turgid, I just got stuck. Read full review

Contents

THE BACKGROUND OF THE SABBATIAN MOVEMENT
1
the catastrophicutopian and the rationalistic forms
8
III The messianic idea in the kabbalah
15
IV Lurianic kabbalah and its myth of exile and redemption
22
V The historical role and social significance of Lurianic kabbalah
44
VI The spread of Lurianic kabbalah until 1665
66
VII Kabbalism in Poland The messianic expectations for the year 1648 Contemporary reactions to the great massacres of that year
77
chiliasm and millenarian movements
93
III Amsterdam
518
IV The Jewish communities in the German lands
546
V Hamburg Jacob Sasportas and his Sisath Nobel Sevi Moses Abudiente and his Fin de los Dias
566
VI Poland
591
THE MOVEMENT IN THE EAST AND THE CENTER AT GALLIPOLI UNTIL SABBATAIS APOSTASY 1666
603
II New festivals and the abolition of traditional fasts The visit of the Polish emissaries
613
III The spread of the movement in Turkey Egypt and North Africa Abraham Miguel Cardozo
633
IV The movement in Yemen
651

THE BEGINNINGS OF SABBATAI SEVI 16261664
103
its nature and significance
125
III Sabbatais first manifestation and his banishment from Smyrna
138
IV His wanderings in Turkey Abraham Yakhini and David Habillo
152
V Sabbatai Sevi in Jerusalem
177
VI His sojourn in Jerusalem and mission to Egypt His marriage to Sarah 166464
180
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE MOVEMENT IN PALESTINE 1665
199
II The apocalypse The Vision of R Abraham
223
III Sabbatai Sevi in Gaza and his excommunication by the rabbis of Jerusalem
233
IV Sabbatas travels through Safed and Aleppo to Smyrna The mnessianic agitation in Gaza after Sabbatais departure
251
V The prophet Nathans letter to the chelebi Raphael Joseph in Egypt Significance of the letter
267
VI Nathans Treatise on the Dragons and its principal doctrines
290
VII Nathans Treatise on the Dragons and its principal doctrines
297
THE MOVEMENT UP TO SABBATAIS IMPRISONMENT IN GALLIPOLI 16651666
327
II Rumors of conquests by the armies of the Ten Tribes in Persia Arabia and North Africa
332
III The movement in Palestine after Sabbatais departure from autumn 1665 to early spring 1666
354
IV The movement in smyrna until December 1665
371
V Sabbatai gains control over the community in Smyrna The events of December 1665
389
VI Mass prophecy and the appointment of the kings by the messiah Sabbatais departure for Constantinople
417
VII The movement in Constantinople FebruaryApril 1666 and his removal of Gallipoli
433
THE MOVEMENT IN EUROPE 1666
461
II Italy Allegations regarding a reign of terror in the Italian communities
477
V Nehemiah Kohen and his visit to Sabbatai Sevi
658
VI Complaints to the Turkish authorities regarding an alleged Jewish revolt Sabbatais appearance before the sultan and his apostasy in September 1666
668
AFTER THE APOSTASY 16671668
687
II The rabbis of Constantinople attempth to calm the public
693
III Nathans departure of Palestine Steps by the rabbis of Constantinople against Nathan and the Sabbatian believers
705
IV Nathans travels in Asian Minor and his attempts to meet Sabbatai in Adrianople Sabbatai Sevi during 1667 Nathans travels in Greece
718
V Believers and infidels after the apostasy in Europe especially in Italy and Holland
749
VI Nathans journey to Italy in 1668 His examination by the rabbinic court at Venice and his mystical mission to Rome His return to the Balkans and r...
764
VII The prophet Sabbatai Raphael and his travels in Europe
781
VIII The theology of the Sabbatian believers after the apostasy
792
IX The doctrine of the apostate messiah and of the significance of the Law according to the writings of Nathan Gaza
802
X The letter Magen Abraham by Abraham Miguel Cardozo
814
THE LAST YEARS OF SABBATAI SEVI 16681676
821
II The revelations of the year 1668 and the tract The Testimony of the Faith Sabbatai Sevi and his circle until 1672
828
III The doctrines of the Sabbatian circle Israel Hazzans commentary of the Psalms
856
IV The imprisonment and trial of Sabbatai Sevi in 1672
872
V Sabbatais banishment to Dulcigno The messianic revival in the years 167475 in Amsterdam and in North Africa
882
VI Sabbatais last years His Myster of the Godhead and the tract The Mystery of the Faith
899
BIBLIOGRAPHY
931
INDEX
957
Copyright

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About the author (1975)

Gershom Scholem was a professor of Jewish mysticism at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem until his death in 1982. Among his most important works are "Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, The Messianic Idea in Judaism," and "On the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism.

R. J. Zei Werlbonsky is Emeritus Professor of Comparative Religion at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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