The Burden of Silence: Sabbatai Sevi and the Evolution of the Ottoman-Turkish Donmes by Cengiz SismanThe Burden of Silence: Sabbatai Sevi and the Evolution of the Ottoman-Turkish Donmes by Cengiz Sisman

The Burden of Silence: Sabbatai Sevi and the Evolution of the Ottoman-Turkish Donmes

byCengiz Sisman

Hardcover | September 14, 2015

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The Burden of Silence is the first monograph on Sabbateanism, an early modern Ottoman-Jewish messianic movement, tracing it from its beginnings during the seventeenth century up to the present day. Initiated by the Jewish rabbi Sabbatai Sevi, the movement combined Jewish, Islamic, andChristian religious and social elements and became a transnational phenomenon, spreading througout Afro-Euroasia. When Ottoman authorities forced Sevi to convert to Islam in 1666, his followers formed messianic crypto-Judeo-Islamic sects, Donmes, which played an important role in the modernizationand secularization of Ottoman and Turkish society and, by extension, Middle Eastern society as a whole. Using Ottoman, Jewish, and European sources, Sisman examines the dissemination and evolution of Sabbeateanism in engagement with broader topics such as global histories, messianism, mysticism, conversion, crypto-identities, modernity, nationalism, and memory. By using flexible and multipleidentities to stymie external interference, the crypto-Jewish Donmes were able to survive despite persecution from Ottoman authorities, internalizing the Kabbalistic principle of a "burden of silence" according to which believers keep their secret on pain of spiritual and material punishment, inorder to sustain their overtly Muslim and covertly Jewish identities. Although Donmes have been increasingly abandoning their religious identities and embracing (and enhancing) secularism, individualism, and other modern ideas in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey since the nineteenth century,Sisman asserts that, throughout this entire period, religious and cultural Donmes continued to adopt the "burden of silence" in order to cope with the challenges of messianism, modernity, and memory.
Cengiz Sisman is Assistant Professor of History at University of Houston-Clear Lake.
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Title:The Burden of Silence: Sabbatai Sevi and the Evolution of the Ottoman-Turkish DonmesFormat:HardcoverDimensions:344 pages, 9.41 × 6.42 × 0.98 inPublished:September 14, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190244054

ISBN - 13:9780190244057

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Table of Contents

List of Tables and IllustrationsAcknowledgmentsList of AbbreviationsNotes on TransliterationIntroduction1. Remapping a Messianic Movement in the Early Modern World2. The Rise and Fall of the Sabbatean Movement in the Eurasian World3. From a Global Movement to an Ottoman Sect: The Birth of a Crypto-Messianic Community4. Authority, Authenticity, and Leadership: Failed Prophecy and the Emergence of Post-Messianic Sects in the Ottoman Empire and Eastern Europe5. Politics of Crypto and Hybrid Identities among the Jews, Christians and Muslims6. Religious Beliefs and Practices in Parallel Space and Time7. The Experience of Modernity: The Emergence of Orthodox, Reformist and Liberal Donmes8. From Empire to Nation-State: Resettlement in Modern TurkeyConclusion: Passion for the WaitingBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This book, based on years of research in various sources in multiple languages, is a highly significant study of the phenomenon of Sabbateanism over the centuries. Meticulously researched and contextualized, it makes a very important contribution to Ottoman, Turkish, and Jewish history." --Aron Rodrigue, Charles Michael Professor in Jewish History and Culture at Stanford University