History of Judaism

Illustration of Sabbatai Tzvi from 1906 (Joods Historisch Museum)
1666 Jan 1


İstanbul, Turkey

The Sabbateans (or Sabbatians) were a variety of Jewish followers, disciples, and believers in Sabbatai Zevi (1626–1676), a Sephardic Jewish rabbi and Kabbalist who was proclaimed to be the Jewish Messiah in 1666 by Nathan of Gaza.

Vast numbers of Jews in the Jewish diaspora accepted his claims, even after he outwardly became an apostate due to his forced conversion to Islam in the same year. Sabbatai Zevi's followers, both during his proclaimed messiahship and after his forced conversion to Islam, are known as Sabbateans. Part of the Sabbateans lived on until well into 21st-century Turkey as descendants of the Dönmeh.