Sabbatai Zevi

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Sabbatai Zevi

(säbätī` zā`vē), 1626–76, Jewish mystic and pseudo-Messiah, founder of the Sabbatean sect, b. Smyrna. After a period of study of Lurianic kabbalah (see Luria, Isaac ben SolomonLuria or Loria, Isaac ben Solomon
, 1534–72, Jewish kabbalist, surnamed Ashkenazi, called Ari [lion] by his followers, b. Jerusalem. In his 20s he spent seven years in seclusion, intensely studying the kabbalah.
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), he became deeply influenced by its ideas of imminent national redemption. In 1648 he proclaimed himself the Messiah, named the year 1666 as the millennium, and gathered a host of followers. In 1666 he attempted to land in Constantinople, was captured, and to escape death embraced Islam. Nevertheless, the influence of the Sabbatean movement survived for many years; it had secret adherents in the 18th cent. and was revived under Jacob FrankFrank, Jacob,
c.1726–1791, Polish Jewish sectarian and adventurer, b. Podolia as Jacob Ben Judah Leib. He founded the Frankists, a heretical Jewish sect that was an anti-Talmudic outgrowth of the mysticism of the false Messiah Sabbatai Zevi.
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. The name is also spelled Shabbatai Zvi.

Bibliography

See G. G. Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (3d rev. ed. 1954, repr. 1967), The Messianic Ideas in Judaism (tr. 1971), and Sabbatai Sevi, the Mystical Messiah (tr. 1973).

Sabbatai Zevi

false messiah, head of Kabbalic movement in mid-1600s. [Jew. Hist.: Wigoder, 544]
References in periodicals archive ?
Out of this crisis came Franz Kafka, who wrote paradoxically that "the messiah will come on the day after he has arrived not on the last day, but on the very last day"; and Walter Benjamin, who concluded his last essay, written shortly before his suicide in 1940, with the words: "every second of time [is] the strait gate through which the Messiah might enter." Benjamin's friend Gershom Scholem became the greatest modern scholar of Jewish apocalyptic mysticism, including that of the false Messiah Shabbetai Zevi.
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There is a tendency in some to infuse Christian doctrine with ideas actually belonging to such pseudo-Messiahs as Shabbetai Zevi. In this view, St.
In an epoch when most Jews had discounted messianism as an active force in Jewish history--especially after the debacle of failed messiah Shabbetai Zevi in the mid-seventeenth century--Geiger and Kook revived the messianic ideal and provided it with a relevance that it had lost due to the failure of messianic activism in history.
The failed messianic movements of David Alroy, Solomon Molcho and David Reuveni, and Shabbetai Zevi, only made the rabbinic establishment more conservative in its theology of discouraging messianic activism.
As a movement, Hasidism developed in seventeenth-century Poland after the bloody persecutions of the Chmielnicki massacres and the false messianic promises of Shabbetai Zevi (1626-1676) and Jacob Frank (1726-1791).
His book is largely the record of a failed attempt to rouse traditional Jewish leadership to denounce this newest Shabbetai Zevi movement, one that recapitulates and extends the false messianism of previous Jewish generations.
Whence Scholem's interest in mysticism (decreed `obscurantist' by the Sages of the nineteenth century) and in heretical movements such as Shabbeteanism -- from his article on Cordovero in 1928 to the monumental work on Shabbetai Zevi in the 1950s.
Reading this remarkable book, one is struck by the place occupied by Nathan of Gaza (1643-1680), far superior in Scholem's eyes in intelligence, originality, theological radicalism, and force of character to Shabbetai Zevi himself.
It was in Thessaloniki that the most famous of the "false Messiahs," Shabbetai Zevi, tormented the Jews with visions of heaven before letting the side down and converting to Islam.
These accusations were followed by charges of literary piracy and Sabbateanism, based on allusions in his writings to Shabbetai Zevi, made in the synagogue and printed for public distribution.
Scholem observes that at the beginning of the section on Shabbat is a possible numerical allusion to Shabbetai Zevi, suggested by the interchange of the Hebrew letters spelling Shabbat [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and Tishby [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] common among his followers.