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Sabbatai Sevi: The Mystical Messiah (Bollingen Series, No. 93) Paperback – January 1, 1976
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Top Customer Reviews
I strongly recommend this book. I recommend it to Jews who want to know about their history. I recommend it to Christians, since the parallels between Sevi and Jesus are many and deep. Lastly, I recommend it to anyone who has an eye for the tragic, who is prepared to read how human frailty can bring about great acheivements and the noblest of intentions can nearly destroy a people.
The author rejects the traditional explanation that followers of Sevi were attracted to him because of the deprivation experienced by some Jews of the period. As Scholem points out, even wealthy communities of Jews in Amsterdam and Greece found him irresistible. Patterns of the growth of the movement are given great attention and are fascinating.
Many people are put off by the length of this work (almost 1000 pages of prose). However, the field is so vast, that a shorter book would not have done it justice. While somewhat esoteric, Sabbati Sevi provides a powerful window into a period of Jewish history given too little study.
The book is a challenging read for individuals without the academic background, but is nonetheless rewarding for those willing to work to digest the high-academic style of much of the writing. Like Scholem's other works, this book is a window to a world of Kabbalistic belief which historically existed in parallel to "traditional" Rabbinic Judaism, quietly passed down and further developed in the shadows. Most importantly, the book portrays the explosive mix of a powerfully appealing ideology with a cultural appetite driven by a sense of desperation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I first became interested in the topic of this book when I read the shorter related essays in Scholem' s other books, which gave me a hard to place, and weird, but deeply-intrigued... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Patrick Revels
My husband saw this book at my parents house and became quite interested in it. It is quite scholarly (I think my father read it in graduate school) and quite detailed. Read morePublished on July 6, 2009 by Riks
This book is less about the man, Sabbatai Sevi, than it is about the Kabbalah movement and its impact on the Jewish people. This book is not a "popular" history book. Read morePublished on March 15, 2006 by Gary Rozenshteyn