Glikl von Hameln: Memoirs 1691-1719 [Excerpt]

Source Description

Moments of upheaval are particularly fruitful for excavating the historical past. The eruption of a cause célèbre affords an opportunity not only to examine particular ruptures, but also to gain insights into the structures of social life that are interrupted by them. The news of the coming of the Messiah in the years 1665–66 represents one such moment in the story of the Jews of Hamburg as recounted by the memoirist, Glikl of Hameln. In Book III of her remembrances, Glikl reports the transition between elation and despair as promises of the Jews’ redemption first came to northern Europe only to be dashed by the conversion of the redeemer to Islam in Constantinople. Glikl’s account of the Sabbatean movement Jewish messianic movement of the followers of Schabbtai Zvi in Hamburg is revealing for its vivid portrait of the energy of the Jews in the city when the news first arrived, for thinking about the communication of news between distant communities—especially the entrepôts transshipment port of the Sephardic diaspora in the Italian Peninsula, Ottoman Empire, and northwestern Europe—and for considering the differences between the various Jewish groups within the city of Hamburg itself.
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Recommended Citation

Glikl von Hameln: Memoirs 1691-1719 [Excerpt] (translated by Barbara Schmidt-Runkel), edited in: Key Documents of German-Jewish History, <> [May 20, 2024].