By Marc David Baer
This booklet tells the tale of the D?nme, the descendents of Jews who resided within the Ottoman Empire and switched over to Islam in addition to their messiah, Rabbi Shabbatai Tzevi, within the 17th century. for 2 centuries following their conversion, the D?nme have been accredited as Muslims, and by way of the top of the 19th century rose to the head of Salonikan society. The D?nme helped remodel Salonika right into a cosmopolitan urban, selling the most recent innovation in exchange and finance, city reform, and sleek schooling. They ultimately turned the driver in the back of the 1908 revolution that resulted in the overthrow of the Ottoman sultan and the institution of an earthly republic.To their proponents, the D?nme are enlightened secularists and Turkish nationalists who fought opposed to the darkish forces of superstition and non secular obscurantism. To their competitors, they have been easily crypto-Jews engaged in a plot to dissolve the Islamic empire. either issues of view imagine the D?nme have been anti-religious, no matter if couched as critique or praise.But it's time that we take those non secular humans heavily all alone phrases. within the Ottoman Empire, the D?nme promoted morality, ethics, spirituality, and a syncretistic faith that mirrored their origins on the intersection of Jewish Kabbalah and Islamic Sufism. this can be the 1st e-book to inform their tale, from their origins to their close to overall dissolution as they turned secular Turks within the mid-twentieth century.
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Additional info for The Dönme. Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries, and Secular Turks
Once they had converted, it wasÂ€assumed that they were Muslims, and this was affirmed by their public religious practices. In the premodern empire, there were no policing or inquisitorial agents that attempted to regulate the beliefs and practices of converts to Islam. It was not a question of lacking the power to disciplineÂ€converts, but of a lack of desire to do so. Religion was manifested primarily in communal belonging, rather than private belief. 35 Introduction The Dönme did not develop a culture of secrecy because it was a key to survival, or because they needed to avoid violent persecution by the Ottoman authorities.
Dönme existence and persistence was based on secrecy and dissimulation, a radical rupture between public and private practice. ”31 The “second world” created by secrecy protects those who act in secret by making their actions and behavior invisible, thus allowing it to persist. Unlike the people described in Simmel’s account, however, the Dönme, at the time of their conversion, had no plans for altering the society in which they lived. 32 It is an act of dissimulation. For the Dönme, public secrecy or dissimulation was knowing when to talk and not to talk in public, knowing what to say and what not to say, knowing the right balance between revealing and concealing so as to not destroy the power of the secret by exposing it.
According to an Ottoman document from 1891,17 the eighteen-to-twenty-year-old Rabia, daughter of a Dönme (referred to as an Avdeti) named Ali Efendi, fell in love with a Muslim named Hajji Feyzullah Efendi of Monastir, who told her to leave home and to appear before a deputy judge, where she could publicly convert to Islam. Ali Efendi understood that his daughter’s conversion was a pretext Ottoman Salonika to marry the Muslim, and he was as dead set both against her marriage to the Muslim and to her conversion.