Transnational Networks and Cross-Religious Exchange in the Seventeenth-Century Mediterranean and Atlantic Worlds: Sabbatai Sevi and the Lost Tribes of Israel, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Transnational Networks and Cross-Religious Exchange in the Seventeenth-Century Mediterranean and Atlantic Worlds

Sabbatai Sevi and the Lost Tribes of Israel, 1st Edition

By Brandon Marriott


182 pages

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pub: 2016-03-18
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In 1644, the news that Antonio de Montezinos claimed to have discovered the Lost Tribes of Israel in the jungles of South America spread across Europe fuelling an already febrile atmosphere of messianic and millenarian expectation. By tracing the process in which one set of apocalyptic ideas was transmitted across the Christian and Islamic worlds, this book provides fresh insight into the origin and transmission of eschatological constructs, and the resulting beliefs that blurred traditional religious boundaries and identities. Beginning with an investigation of the impact of Montezinos’s narrative, the next chapter follows the story to England, examining how the Quaker messiah James Nayler was viewed in Europe. The third chapter presents the history of the widely reported - but wholly fictitious - story of the sack of Mecca, a rumour that was spread alongside news of Sabbatai Sevi. The final chapter looks at Christian responses to the Sabbatian movement, providing a detailed discussion of the cross-religious and international representations of the messiah. The conclusion brings these case studies together, arguing that the evolving beliefs in the messiah and the Lost Tribes between 1648 and 1666 can only be properly understood by taking into account the multitude of narrative threads that moved between networks of Jews, Conversos, Catholics and Protestants from one side of the Atlantic to the far side of the Mediterranean and back again. By situating this transmission in a broader historical context, the book reveals the importance of early-modern crises, diasporas and newsgathering networks in generating the eschatological constructs, disseminating them on an international scale, and transforming them through this process of intercultural dissemination into complex new hybrid religious conceptions, expectations, and identities.

Table of Contents

Introduction; The lost tribes in the Americas: Judeo-Christian reciprocity across the Atlantic world (1648-1666); New monarchs or grand impostors? James Nayler and Sabbatai Sevi (1656-1666); Who sacked Mecca? The life of a rumour (1665-1666); A Jewish Messiah among Christians: the evolution of European perceptions of Sabbatai Sevi (1665-1666); Conclusion; Appendix; Select bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Brandon Marriott received his doctoral degree in early modern European history from the University of Oxford in 2012. His publications and presentations centre on cross-religious interactions in the early modern Abrahamic world. He has recently worked as a sessional instructor at Simon Fraser University and held a short-term fellowship at the Warburg Institute to undertake research on his next project: a cross-religious history of Gog and Magog.

About the Series

Universal Reform: Studies in Intellectual History, 1550-1700

The fission of the western Church in the Reformation era released great quantities of energy, not all of which was contained by the confessional churches. Alongside the well-studied process of confessionalisation and the persistence of variety within popular religion, the post-Reformation period witnessed a series of poorly understood attempts by a wide variety of intellectuals to extend the reforming impulse from the spheres of church and theology to many different areas of life and thought. Within these ambitious reforming projects, impulses originating in the Reformation mixed inextricably with projects emerging from the late-Renaissance and with the ongoing transformations of communications, education, art, literature, science, medicine, and philosophy. Although specialised literatures exist to study these individual developments, they do not comfortably accommodate studies of how these components were sometimes brought together in the service of wider reforms. By providing a natural home for fresh research uncomfortably accommodated within Renaissance studies, Reformation studies, and the histories of science, medicine, philosophy, and education, this new series will pursue a more synoptic understanding of individuals, movements, and networks pursuing further and more general reform by bringing together studies rooted in all of these sub-disciplinary historiographies but constrained by none of them.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Modern / 17th Century
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography