Project #211699 - Jewish Studies Paper

History Tutors

Subject History
Due By (Pacific Time) 11/13/2017 10:00 am

On ELMS you will find a Module devoted to the Sabbatean movement. In that module, you will find two readings about the movement: the report of an English diplomat, Paul Rycaut, who observed the excitement in the Ottoman Empire first hand; and a letter from Rabbi Joseph ha-Levi, written from Livorno in Italy to a rabbinic colleague in Amsterdam, condemning the movement and its followers.

There is a tremendous literature on Shabbetai Zevi and his adherents. To orient yourself, you should probably first turn to the article in the Encyclopaedia Judaica, available online as a database through the University Libraries catalog. You can also orient yourself through our text book and through many other survey histories of the Jews. There are of course also many scholarly articles available through JSTOR, Project Muse, and WorldCat, but it is unnecessary to consult them for this project.

In a paper of no more than 3 pages:

a) summarize briefly the events of the Sabbatean movement;

b) describe the perspectives from which the authors of the two sources perceive of the messianic movement.

c) describe how various authorities, both Jewish and non-Jewish, responded to the movement.

d) decide, based on your general reading and taking into account the biases of the primary sources, whether the Sabbatean excitement in 1665-66 can be described as a genuine "popular religious movement"? What is the definition of "popular religion" and how does it differ from other forms of religious belief and adherence? Cite from the sources to back up your view. If you feel it was a popular religious movement, what do you think are its causes? If not, what other types of factors might historians use to explain the excitement? 

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