As reformation is fomenting in Europe, there is a Jewish fellow who proclaimed himself Messiah and developed a huge following in the Ottoman Empire and parts of Europe. According to him, the redemption of the world was at hand. His name was Sabbetai Zevi. The year is 1665.
His followers set aside their traditional Jewish beliefs and practices for new standards set by Zevi. But there was a naysayer in the bunch, a dissident rabbi who warned his countrymen that Zevi was not the Messiah after all. So they should abandon their enthusiasm for this man and return to their traditional practices. His name was Jacob Sasportas. A new book, written by Yaacob Dweck, provides a biography of this Separdic rabbi who stood up to Zevi. It is published by Princeton University Press.
As it turned out, this “messiah” converted to Islam at the behest of the Ottoman sultan. It’s was a wild and crazy century for Europe and the Ottoman Empire. This book tells a fascinating story. For more click here.