Practicing Aşk: Sound and Affect in Late Sabbateanism and Its Ottoman Sphere

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Emotional states and their representations are gaining increasing attention in the historical study of mysticism. Building on the notion that mystical texts can be utilized to form a relation with the divine, in the current article I explore the intersection of emotional expressions, auditory elements, and devotional traditions as central praxes in Ottoman society. While focusing on a late offshoot of the Sabbatean movement, the Ma'aminim of Salonica, a contextualized analysis of previously unexplored sources demonstrates that during the first half of the nineteenth century the Sabbateans reshaped their communal practices according to contemporary cultural conventions in the Ottoman sphere. This study suggests that viewing mystical texts as generators of affect and sensorial ritual draws the focus from the spiritual world of a mystic-author to the experiences of community members, and it proves that neighboring soundscapes and appropriation of popular culture may serve as fundamental components in the historicization of religious phenomena. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-149
Number of pages34
JournalJewish Social Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • CULTURAL appropriation
  • POPULAR culture
  • SELF-expression
  • RITES & ceremonies
  • PRAXIS (Process)
  • affective and sensorial experiences
  • Ottoman culture
  • ritual singing and music
  • Sabbatean Ma'aminim (Dönme)


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