Letter sent from Constantinople to Rome about the new Messiah of the Jews

Our flyer for the conference on “Sabbateanism in the Mediterranean” features the frontispiece image from a pamphlet published in Italy in 1667: Lettera mandata da Costantinopoli a Roma intorno al nuovo Messia degli Ebrei (Siena, Bologna 1667).

This “Letter sent from Constantinople to Rome about the new Messiah of the Jews” was published in multiple editions in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

In 1667, the text of this letter was twice translated in Portuguese.

If you want to know more about the many early modern Italian reports on Sabbatai Zvi see: Stefano Villani, “Between Information and Proselytism: Seventeenth-Century Italian Texts on Sabbatai Zevi, their Various Editions and their Circulation, in Print and Manuscript,” in DAAT: A Journal of Jewish Philosophy & Kabbalah 82 (2016), LXXXVII-CIII (on-line on Academia and on Research Gate).

On the Portuguese translations see José Alberto Rodrigues da Silva Tavim, “Revisitando uma carta em português sobre Sabbatai Zvi,” in Sefarad, 67 (2007), 155-190.

This is a list of the known Italian editions of the “Letter sent from Constantinople to Rome about the new Messiah of the Jews”:

1) Lettera mandata da Costantinopoli a Roma intorno al nuovo Messia de gli Ebrei, Siena e Bologna, per Giacomo Monti, 1667. A copy is preserved in the Hebrew Union College Library of Cincinnati.

2) Lettera mandata da Constantinopoli a Roma Intorno al nuovo Messia degli Hebrei, Ronciglione, 1667, 7[ma 8] p., 4°. Copies are preserved in Lucca: B.ta 590.15 and in the Ajuda-Biblioteca Nacional, Lisbona, códice 50- V-36.

3) Lettera mandata da Constantinopoli a Roma dal Residente d’Olanda ad un suo Amico, Intorno al nuovo Messia de gl’Hebrei, Roma, Firenze e Lucca, 1667. A copy is preserved in the National Archives of London, SP 120/116.

4) Relatione curiosissima, & insieme verissima del strano successo del preteso messia degli hebrei, il quale cagiono tanta commotione in quella natione, e termino poi con farsi turco. Aggiontoui vnaltro fatto simile, suceduto poco doppo, Venetia, 1694. Copies are preserved in the Biblioteca del Seminario Teologico of Trento (ggYm 1. 2.7), and in the Biblioteca Marciana of Venice (3 D 297/5).

5) Relatione curiosissima, et insieme verissima del strano successo del preteso Messia degli Hebrei, il quale cagiono tanta commotione in quella natione e termino poi col farsi turco. Lettera mandata da Costantinopoli a Roma intorno al nuovo Messia degli Hebrei dal padre Beccaranda Giesuita, Venezia & Padova, per il Sardi, 1731. A copy is preserved in the Marciana Library of Venice (MISC 1732/13).

6) Relazione curiosissima ed insieme verissima del strano successo del preteso Messia degli Ebrei, il quale cagionò tanta commozione in quella Nazione e terminò poi con farsi turco. Lettera mandata di Constantinopoli a Roma intorno al nuovo Messia degli Ebrei, dal Padre Beccaranda, Gesuita, Venezia ed Parma, Gozzi. A copy is preserved in the Archivio della Comunità ebraica of Mantua filza 109, cartella 51.

 

Sabbateanism in Italy and its Mediterranean Context (Rome, January 20-22, 2019)

Participants will investigate the Sabbatean excitement and the movement’s activities in Italy. Others will address the aftermath of this messianic movement in later generations on the Peninsula. We hope to broaden the conversation in several ways, first through consideration of other millenarian preaching and excitement among Jews during the 16th, 17th, and early 18th centuries. Also participants have been encouraged to compare Sabbateanism with millenarian and heretical movements among Christians and Muslims in Italy, in the Mediterranean, and in Europe more widely. The conference will go beyond the enthusiasts themselves to describe the various types of reaction they elicited—whether celebration or suppression, passive disregard or active discipline.

Preliminary program:

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