The Mystical Messiah, 1626–1676
With a new introduction by Yaacob Dweck
Translated by R. J. Zwi Werblowsky
Gershom Scholem stands out among modern thinkers for the richness and power of his historical imagination. A work widely esteemed as his magnum opus, Sabbatai Ṣevi offers a vividly detailed account of the only messianic movement ever to engulf the entire Jewish world. Sabbatai Ṣevi was an obscure kabbalist rabbi of seventeenth-century Turkey who aroused a fervent following that spread over the Jewish world after he declared himself to be the Messiah. The movement suffered a severe blow when Ṣevi was forced to convert to Islam, but a clandestine sect survived. A monumental and revisionary work of Jewish historiography, Sabbatai Ṣevi details Ṣevi's rise to prominence and stands out for its combination of philological and empirical authority and passion. This edition contains a new introduction by Yaacob Dweck that explains the scholarly importance of Scholem's work to a new generation of readers.
Gershom Scholem (1897–1982) was one of the most important Jewish intellectuals of the twentieth century and the father of the academic study of Jewish mysticism. He was a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Yaacob Dweck is associate professor of history and Judaic studies at Princeton University. He is the author of The Scandal of Kabbalah (Princeton).