Hîstôry¯a yêhûdît = Jewish history

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 119–126 | Cite as

Christian messianism and the Portuguese Marranos: The emergence of Sabbateanism in Smyrna

  • Jacob Barnai


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  1. 1.
    Gershom Scholem,Sabbatai Sevi (Princeton, 1973), 1–8.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    But see Moshe Idel, “‘One from a Town and Two from a Family’: The Diffusion of Lurianic Kabbala and Sabbateanism: A Re-Examination,” in this volume, above pp. 79–104.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Miriam Yardeni,Anti-Jewish Mentalities in Early Modern Europe (Lanham, Md., 1990), 179–200; Y. H. Yerushalmi,From Spanish Court to Italian Ghetto (New York and London, 1971), 302–13; Michael McKeon, “Sabbatai Zevi in England,”AJS Review 2 (1977): 131–69; Stephen Sharot,Messianism, Mysticism and Magic (Chapel Hill, 1983), 86–114; Yosef Kaplan, Henry Mechoulanand R. H. Popkin, eds.,Menasseh ben Israel and His World (Leiden, 1989); Yosef Kaplan,From Christianity to Judaism (Oxford, 1989); R. H. Popkin, “R. Nathan Shapira's Visit to Amsterdam in 1650,”Dutch Jewish History 1 (1984): 185–205; R. H. Popkin,Isaac la Peyrera (Leiden, 1989); David Katz and Jonathan Israel, eds.,Sceptics, Millenarians and Jews (Leiden, 1990); R. H. Popkin, “The Fictional Jewish Council of 1650: A Great English Pipedream,”Jewish History 5/1 (1991): 7–22.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Scholem,Sabbatai Sevi, 485; Gershom Scholem,Studies and Texts Concerning the History of Sabbateanism and Its Metamorphoses (Hebrew) (Jerusalem, 1974), 274–389.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Menasseh ben Israel,The Hope of Israel, ed. Henry Mechoulan and Gerard Nahon (Oxford, 1987), ix–xi; Menachem Dorman,Menasseh ben Israel (Hebrew) (Tel Aviv, 1989); Ismar Schorsch, “From Messianism to Realpolitik: Menasseh ben Israel and the Readmission of the Jews to England,”Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research 45 (1978): 187–208; J. H. Kopenhagen,Menasseh ben Israel, Manuel Dias Soire, 1604–1657 (Jerusalem, 1990).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    R. H. Popkin, “R. Nathan Shapira's Visito Amsterdam in 1650,”Dutch Jewish History 1 (1984): 185–89.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Jacob Barnai, “Portuguese Marranos in Smyrna in the Seventeenth Century,” inNation and History I (Hebrew), ed. Menahem Stern (Jerusalem, 1983), 298; Scholem,Sabbatai Sevi, 143–45, noted these people, but did not realize they were Marranos.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Scholem,Sabbatai Sevi, 217, 870; Jehudah Liebes, “Christian Influence on the Zohar,”Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought (Hebrew) 2 (1982/83): 43–74.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Jacob Barnai, “The Origins of the Jewish Community in Smyrna in the Ottoman Period” (Hebrew),Pe amim 12 (1982): 47–58; idem, “Portuguese Marranos”: 289–98; Jacob idem, “R. Joseph Escapa and the Smyrna Rabbinate” (Hebrew),Sefunot 18 (1985): 53–82; idem, “Jewish Congregations in Smyrna in the Seventeenth Century” (Hebrew),Pe amim 48 (1992): 66–84; Daniel Goffman,Izmir and the Levantine World, 1550–1650 (Seattle and London, 1990), 77–92; Necmi Ülker,The Rise of Smyrna, 1688–1740, dissertation (Ann Arbor, 1974).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cecil Roth, “The Spanish Press in Smyrna” (Hebrew),Kiryat Sefer 28 (1952/53): 390–93 (= C. Roth,Studies in Books and Booklore: Essays in Jewish Bibliography [Westmead, 1972], 1–11, 111–12; the sole copy of this book is owned by the Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, which I thank for furnishing me with photocopies of the poems; Nissim Yosha graciously translated the poems into Hebrew. Also see Abraham Yaari, “The Hebrew Press in Smyrna” (Hebrew),Areshet 1 (1959); on this press at Smyrna, see J. R. Hacker, “An Emissary of Louis XIV in the Levant and Ottoman Jewish Culture” (Hebrew),Zion 52 (1987): 25–44. The Gabbai Press unquestionably possessed Latin type, since it printed at least one other book with it, meaning that an edition ofThe Hope of Israel was at least a possibility. See Barnai, “Portuguese Marranos” 293, n. 23; Hacker, “Emissary”: 37. As an aside, it is worth noting that even though he died in 1657 — nearly a decade before Sabbatai Zevi proclaimed his messiahship — nineteenth-century Enlightenment literature considered Samuel, the son of Mennasseh ben Israel, who supervised his father's press in Amsterdam, among the fanatical believers in Zevi; see Shmuel Werses,The Jewish Enlightenment and Sabbateanism (Hebrew) (Jerusalem, 1988), 239–40.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    R. Jacob Emden,Torat Haqena ot (Jerusalem, 1971; photocopy of Amsterdam, 1752), 45–47; Meir Benayahu, “A Key for Understand king the Documents of the Sabbatean Movement in Jerusalem” (Hebrew), inStudies in Mysticism and Religion Presented to Gershom Scholem, eds. E.E. Urbach, R.J.Z. Werblowsky and Ch. Wirszubski (Jerusalem, 1967), 37. For a eulogy of “Dr. Isaac Moron,” see the Smyrna sage, R. Eliyah Hacohen Ha-Itamari,Midrash Eliyahu (Smyrna, 1759), 23a. Scholem,Sabbatai Sevi, 140, was hesitant about this person. In fact, he failed to distinguish between the various Jewish physicians of Smyrna, especially among the Portuguese Marranos, such as Abraham Baruch, A. M. Cardoso, Itzhak Moron, Daniel de Silva, Huan De La Paz, David Tzemach, Samuel Cohen Areas and more; see Barnai, “Portuguese Marranos”: 289–98; idem, “Origins”: 5–56, and the list of names at the end ofThe Book of Regulations of the Orphan Society.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Dorman,Menasseh ben Israel, 65–72.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Scholem,Sabbatai Sevi, 333–54; R. Jacob Sasportas,Zizat Novel Zvi, ed. Isaiah Tishbi (Jerusalem, 1954), 7–12, and see Scholem,Sabbatai Sevi, 267–89.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    The Book of the Holy Society in Smyrna (Ladino) (Constantinople, 1750). See Abraham Yaari,The Hebrew Press in Constantinople (Hebrew) (Jerusalem, 1967, 207. The one surviving copy is housed at the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York. I thank Jacob Elboim for helping me find and photocopy this book and the Seminary library for permission to do so.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    On Sephardi societies for dowring orphans, see Miriam Bodian, The “Santa Compania de Dotar Orphans E. Dozales Porbes” in Amsterdam, 1615–1636 (Hebrew), dissertation (Jerusalem, 1988), 18–83. On these societies in general, especially in Italy, see Beracha Ardos-Rivlin,Mutual Responsibility in the Italian Ghetto (Hebrew) (Jerusalem, 1991), 115–20.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Contrasting the names of Smyrna's Marranos, as they appear in The Book of Regulations of the Orphan Society to the names of Marranos in Western Europe communities in the seventeenth century reveals striking similarities, to wit, such names as Suarez, Paz, Peña, Silva, and many more; on which see index to Kaplan,From Christianity. Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    See, for example, the discussion of R. Moses Pinehiro, below. The Orphan Society list includes the names of Jacob and Isaac Nunis del Monte who later moved to Amsterdam; see Kaplan,From Christianity, 292, 296, 301, 420, 426, 428, 430. Joseph Suarez' will, written in Smyrna in 1654, is indicative of Marranos active in international trade with family connections throughout the Portuguese western European diaspora; found in Moses Benveniste,Pnei Moshe I (Istanbul, 1671), Sec. 34, 75b–82b.Google Scholar
  18. 19.
    A full list of these kings appears in Scholem,Sabbatai Sevi, 427–30, although Scholem did not know they were Marranos.Google Scholar
  19. 20.
    Ibid. 429.Google Scholar
  20. 21.
    Ibid. 140, 431, 725; David Tamar,Studies in the History of the Jews in Palestine and the Near East (Hebrew) (Jerusalem, 1991), 143–44 resolves the question of Dr. Abraham Baruch's identity.Google Scholar
  21. 22.
    Ibid. 429.Google Scholar
  22. 23.
    Ibid. 419.Google Scholar
  23. 24.
    Ibid. 428.Google Scholar
  24. 25.
    Ibid. 428.Google Scholar
  25. 26.
    Ibid. 420–22.Google Scholar
  26. 27.
    Ibid. 427, but see note 17 above.Google Scholar
  27. 28.
    Ibid. 110–16; Meir Benayahu,The Sabbatean Movement in Greece (= Sefunot 14 [1971–1978]: 122–32, 486; Isaiah Tishbi, The Paths of Faith and Heresy (Hebrew) (Ramat Gan, 1964), 264; R. Abraham Joshua Judah,Avodat Masa (Salonika, 1846), 15a–b, which describes him as a person no less complex than Sabbatai Sevi.Google Scholar
  28. 29.
    Scholem,Sabbatai Sevi, 101–102, emphatically denies any such relationship.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Haifa University Press 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob Barnai
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HaifaIsrael

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