This work is a study of Jewish history writing in the Ottoman Empire through various periods, including the Sabbatian movement, and how these writings have affected our understanding of Ottoman Jewish history today.
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Izzet Bahar’s study of history writings of the Jews in the Ottoman Empire is the first major historiographical work on the topic. The product of these writings is the largely positive view of Jewish experience of the Ottoman Empire, something which has persisted until the present day. Bahar also explains how Ottoman Jewish histories are characterised by a strong messianic and religious motivations. The study begins with an analysis of Jewish attitudes towards history and history writing. Bahar then continues by examining the historiography of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, especially those works which dealt with the history of the Ottoman Empire and its Jewish population. Bahar devotes the subsequent part to a study of the Sabbatian movement and its influence on Jewish historiography. He concludes with a chapter on Jewish cultural stagnation in the nineteenth century as reflected in history writings. This work is unique among histories of Ottoman Jewry in its approach and should be read by anyone interested in understanding perceptions of the Ottoman Jewish past.