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 besides their messiah, Rabbi Shabbatai Tzevi, within the 17th century. for 2 centuries following their conversion, the D?nme have been authorised as Muslims, and via the tip of the 19th century rose to the pinnacle 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 finally 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 rivals, they have been easily crypto-Jews engaged in a plot to dissolve the Islamic empire. either issues of view think the D?nme have been anti-religious, even if couched as critique or praise.But it's time that we take those spiritual 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 booklet to inform their tale, from their origins to their close to overall dissolution as they grew to become secular Turks within the mid-twentieth century.

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Whereas in Iran, the animosity of Muslims ensured the persistence of the crypto-Jews, because neighbors kept them under close surveillance and threatened them with death if their observing Jewish law and customs was discovered,88 in the Ottoman Empire, the opposite was true: the Ottoman religious and administrative authorities allowed the Dönme to live as Dönme without harassment. The Jews were not a persecuted minority in the Ottoman Empire. As a corollary, neither were the Dönme. 89 Such a paradigm may fit other groups who aimed to maintain Judaism and a Jewish identity, but does not describe the Dönme.

One does not find (except in the most recent genealogies) Dönme wives in western and central Europe, for example, until after the Dönme began to deteriorate as a social group. Dönme genealogies begin with male progenitors, but include daughters and wives, spelling out the choice of partners, who can marry whom. Unlike other diasporic Muslim groups, among whom patrilineal descent was crucial, making intermarriage normal, the Dönme, who had both Islamic and Jewish roots, not only preserved patrilinealism, but added the matrilocal, thus combining Jewish and Muslim definitions of descent.

Neither effort was successful. 8 Endogamy and Genealogies One of the main ways in which the Dönme preserved their distinct ethno-religious identity was by marrying only members of the same Dönme sect. Endogamy and genealogy are important features of many crypto-faith communities, whether conversos, Huguenots, or Moriscos, Muslims compelled to convert to Catholicism in Iberia. For all of these groups, as for the Dönme, marrying insiders allowed them furtively to continue their religious practices, protect a separate way of being, and maintain close economic networks.

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