JEWISH HISTORIOGRAPHY ON THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE AND ITS JEWRY FROM THE LATE FIFTEENTH CENTURY TO THE EARLY DECADES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
The thesis analyzes how Jewish historians presented the Ottoman Empire and its Jewish subjects during the long time span between the end of the fifteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century. In the first part of the thesis, the key characteristics of the Jewish attitude towards history and history writing are analyzed. Throughout the ages of pre-1820, Jews are observed to be consciously lukewarm towards history. The sealing of the Bible and the emergence of an apocalyptic/messianic world view, which are both considered to have taken place around the last centuries of B.C.E., are illustrated as two major causes behind the emergence of this particular Jewish attitude towards history. In the second part of the thesis, the historiography of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are examined with special emphasis on the period historians who explicitly wrote historical works. As the Ottoman Empire was the super power of the age, in these historical writings, a special divine role was attributed to the Empire. The consecutive part of the thesis focuses on historical writings on the Sabbatian messianic movement. As one of the important episodes of the early modern period of Jewish history, the Sabbatian movement stimulated awareness and interest in history even in the far flung communities of Diaspora and produced a new surge of history writing. The modernization of the Ottoman Empire Jewry that began after the 1840s, and adaptation of numerous already-existing social and intellectual models of the West is the subject of the final part of the thesis. Each of these western Jewish intellectual movements had their distinctive approach to history and influenced the Ottoman Jewish historians in their writings of history. However, the actual scientific and objective historical writings on the Ottoman Jewry started much later in the second half of the twentieth century and gained popularity in the 1980s with the increased world-wide interest in the Ottoman/Turkish Jewry.
Advisor:Adam Shear; Snjezena Buznov; Alex Orbach
School:University of Pittsburgh
School Location:USA - Pennsylvania
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:06/27/2006