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Dissident RabbiThe Life of Jacob Sasportas$
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Yaacob Dweck

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691183572

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691183572.001.0001

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(p.255) Six Aftermath
Dissident Rabbi

Yaacob Dweck

Princeton University Press

This chapter surveys the last three decades of Jacob Sasportas's life, when he moved between Hamburg, Amsterdam, Livorno, and Amsterdam again. During this period, Sasportas continued to enter the fray of rabbinic controversy and rarely mentioned Sabbetai Zevi or Jewish messianism. The chapter then posits that for Sasportas, the problem posed by Sabbetai Zevi was actually symptomatic of a much larger issue: the rabbinate itself. Sabbetai Zevi and the Sabbatian movement provided Sasportas with the conditions of possibility to compose a book that both documented the course of events and articulated a viewpoint. Once articulated, however, many of the tenets Sasportas had expressed in an incisive formulation in response to Sabbetai Zevi reappeared in his other writings and in other writings about him. For Sasportas, the world of rabbinic learning was the point of departure for his thought. He approached Sabbetai Zevi and the question of his messianism from the point of view of rabbinic law. Indeed, the problem of rabbinic authority, and ancillary issues such as honor, respect, and jurisdiction, surfaced repeatedly in The Fading Flower of the Zevi.

Keywords:   Jacob Sasportas, rabbinic controversy, Sabbetai Zevi, Jewish messianism, rabbinate, Sabbatian movement, rabbinic learning, rabbinic law, rabbinic authority

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