By Marc David Baer

This ebook tells the tale of the D?nme, the descendents of Jews who resided within the Ottoman Empire and switched over to Islam in addition to their messiah, Rabbi Shabbatai Tzevi, within the 17th century. for 2 centuries following their conversion, the D?nme have been accredited as Muslims, and by means of the top of the 19th century rose to the pinnacle of Salonikan society. The D?nme helped remodel Salonika right into a cosmopolitan urban, selling the latest innovation in exchange and finance, city reform, and glossy schooling. They finally grew to become the driver at the back of the 1908 revolution that ended in the overthrow of the Ottoman sultan and the institution of a mundane republic.To their proponents, the D?nme are enlightened secularists and Turkish nationalists who fought opposed to the darkish forces of superstition and spiritual obscurantism. To their rivals, they have been easily crypto-Jews engaged in a plot to dissolve the Islamic empire. either issues of view suppose the D?nme have been anti-religious, even if couched as critique or praise.But it's time that we take those spiritual humans heavily all alone phrases. within the Ottoman Empire, the D?nme promoted morality, ethics, spirituality, and a syncretistic faith that mirrored their origins on the intersection of Jewish Kabbalah and Islamic Sufism. this can be the 1st e-book to inform their tale, from their origins to their close to overall dissolution as they grew to become secular Turks within the mid-twentieth century.

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Extra info for The Dönme. Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries, and Secular Turks

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2 Her older brother, Hidayet, was outraged: “What? Our sister, a Dönme, marry a Turk? Choose her own husband? This one is crazy. Mother, she will ruin the honor of the entire family. 3 Meanwhile, her prospective groom was being congratulated. ”4 The bride is a member of a Dönme family, “and the Dönme do not allow their daughters to marry outsiders. ”5 One day, Dr. Nâzım of the Central Committee of the Committee of Union and Progress [CUP—the formerly secret society of Young Turks, which since the 1908 revolution had been transformed into a political party and at the time of this marriage was running the empire ] called me to appear before him.

But the followers of Shabbatai Tzevi who voluntarily converted faced none of this when they emerged as an identifiable group. Whereas in Iran, the animosity of Muslims ensured the persistence of the crypto-Jews, because neighbors kept them under close surveillance and threatened them with death if their observing Jewish law and customs was discovered,88 in the Ottoman Empire, the opposite was true: the Ottoman religious and administrative authorities allowed the Dönme to live as Dönme without harassment.

They sought to return Dönme religion to its first state, excising all accretions, and they developed ties to the Mevlevi Sufi order. A group of Karakaş denied that Shabbatai Tzevi had been reincarnated in Yakub Çelebi or Osman Baba, and that the latter was the messiah, preferring to believe that only Shabbatai Tzevi had been the messiah. They formed this final group after Osman Baba died around 1720. Osman Baba’s grave, which  Introduction Scholem claims, incorrectly, but meaningfully, was located near a Bektaşi lodge,43 became a major pilgrimage site for the Karakaş, who tended to reside in the neighborhood of Salonika, where it was located.

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