Episode 111 – The Jewish Messiah Who Converted to Islam

You’ve heard it before: the fact that the Jewish religion has survived in exile for more than 2000 years is nothing less than a miracle. And really, if you think about it, what are the odds that such an odd religion would persist, especially amidst the multi-billion strong titans of Christianity and Islam?

But somehow, it did. For generations upon generations, people said the same prayers in an ancient language they often didn’t even understand. They followed the laws of a God they had never seen. And kept secluded in they’re communities, with one mission in mind: to survive, and keep Judaism whole.

But in retrospect, a rift was inevitable. And indeed, it came in the 17th century, shaking the Jewish world to its foundations.
Shabtai Zvi was born in 1626, and from a young age he was fascinated by the secrets of Jewish mysticism. When he was 22, he declared himself the Messiah. The huge cultic movement that he created in the years to come, is considered the single biggest rupture in Jewish history.

Dr. Alexander Van Der Haven Studies Jewish history in the Ben Gurion university in the Negev desert. His new book: Sarah the Ashkenazi, the Queen of the Sabbateans, is depicting the fascinating story of Shabtai Zvi’s wife. We’re super excited to have him here to talk about the Sabbateans and his new book.

Dr. Van Der Haven’s website, his new book in English can be ordered here, and the Hebrew version here

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