“Glory to the Righteous One” (Tzvi la-tzaddik) (Isa. 24:16): The Use of Biblical Quotations in the Polemic against the Sabbatean Movement

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Abstract

Promoted by Nathan of Gaza—a reputable figure—Sabbatai Tzvi was hailed as the messiah across the Jewish communities of the medieval world, thousands flocking to his side. One of his prominent detractors was R. Jacob Sasportas, who wrote numerous letters to his peers—rabbis of the western Sephardi diaspora—in order to dissuade them from giving Sabbatai their support and prove Nathan to be a false prophet. Much of Tzitzat novel Tzvi consists of his extensive correspondence on the subject, together with the responses he received. The rich language in which it is couched reflects the biblical citations on which all the parties drew in order to clarify their position and substantiate their arguments. Herein, I examine this significant but relatively neglected phenomenon, focusing primarily on Sasportas’ exegesis of Scripture and the peculiar meanings the biblical text assumed within the context of the polemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number489
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalReligions
Volume11
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Biblical interpretation
  • R. Jacob Sasportas
  • Textual polemics
  • The Sabbatean movement

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies

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