Sabbatian Heresy

Writings on Mysticism, Messianism, and the Origins of Jewish Modernity

Edited by Pawel Maciejko

The pronouncements of Sabbatai Tsevi (1626–76) gave rise to Sabbatianism, a key messianic movement in Judaism that spread across Jewish communities in Europe, Asia, and North Africa. The movement, which featured a set of theological doctrines in which Jewish Kabbalistic tradition merged with Muslim and later Christian elements, suffered a setback with Tsevi’s conversion to Islam in 1666. Nonetheless, for another hundred and fifty years, Sabbatianism continued to exist as a heretical underground movement. It provoked intense opposition from rabbinic authorities for another century and had a significant impact on central developments of later Judaism, such as the Haskalah, the Reform movement, Hasidism, and the secularization of Jewish society. This volume provides a selection of the most original and influential texts composed by Sabbatai Tsevi and his followers, complemented by fragments of the works of their rabbinic opponents and contemporary observers and some literary works inspired by Sabbatianism. An introduction and annotations by Pawel Maciejko provide historical, political, and social context for the documents.

Paper: $26 | Cloth: $95 | E-book: $24.99
ISBN-13: 9781512600520
Pages: 216 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: May 2, 2017


  • The combination of eye-opening historical sources and Maciejko’s learned com mentary make this a perfect volume for undergraduate and graduate courses on religious studies, messianic movements, Jewish history, and the histories of both East Central Europe and of the Ottoman Empire. This is a lively and engaging study that few readers will be able to put down.

    Scott Ury
    Tel Aviv University

About the Author

Pawel Maciejko

Pawel Maciejko is an associate professor of history and Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Chair in Classical Jewish Religion, Thought, and Culture at Johns Hopkins University. Between 2005 and 2016 he taught at the Department of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His first book, The Mixed Multitude: Jacob Frank and the Frankist Movement, 1755–1816, was awarded the Salo Baron Prize by the American Academy of Jewish Research and the Jordan Schnitzer Book Award by the …

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