Some Social Aspects of the Polemics between Sabbatians and Their Opponents

  • J. Barnai
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas / Archives Internationales D’Histoire des Idées book series (ARCH, volume 173)


Further research into the social history of Sabbatianism is sorely needed. This sort of work is necessary in order to deepen our understanding not only of the biggest and most important messianic movement in the history of the Jewish people, but also the processes and movements acting in Jewish history at the end of the Middle Ages and the modern period. We must try to place Sabbatianism in its historical context, the times and places in which it occurred, beginning with the Jewish perspective, since it affected almost all of the Jewish communities of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. But we must also try to place Sabbatianism in a perspective beyond Jewish history, in the larger framework of the societies and religions surrounding it. This is necessary in order to better understand not only Sabbatianism, but also both European and Islamic movements and social trends prevailing in the same period. Allow me to paraphrase Herzl’s words (with no intent of detracting from what Sabbatian research has achieved until now): Sabbatianism should be returned to history, not left only in the field of Jewish mysticism, as has been done to date in a most impressive manner, mainly by Gershom Scholem and his school.


Eighteenth Century Seventeenth Century Jewish Community Jewish People Jewish History 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Barnai
    • 1
  1. 1.Haifa UniversityIsrael

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