| Cengiz Şişman

Cengiz Şişman


Assistant Professor of History


Furman University


Cengiz completed his dissertation in the Departments of History and Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. His studies focused on Early Modern and Modern Middle Eastern, Ottoman, Mediterranean and Jewish histories. Currently, he is revising a book manuscript titled "Sabbatai Mehmet Sevi and the Sabbataians: A Messiah in the Ottoman Court and Emergence of a Messianic Judeo-Islamic Sect (17th-20th centuries)." There, he argues that members of the Jewish Sabbataian movement in the seventeenth century slowly turned into idiosyncratic Muslim mystics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and eventually emerged as secular Muslims in the twentieth century.

More recently he has been working on contemporary debates around this idiosyncratic Muslim community (e.g. accusations of being "crypto-Jewish") and its relation to the rise of Islamism, anti-Semitism and anti-Westernism in Turkey and the Middle East. Some of his findings were already published in his book in Turkish, which concentrated on the Sabbataianism and minority issues in the contemporary Islamic world. His third book, co-edited with Yaron Ben-Naeh, analyzing interactions between Muslims and non-Muslims in the Ottoman Empire, is going to be published by the Brill Publication.

Selected Publications


Eighteen Commandments: Sabbatai Mehmed Sevi and the Ottoman Sabbataians (1666-1924). Stanford University Press, forthcoming.

Mission to Jews, Sabbataians and Muslims of the Ottoman Empire: Early Encounters of Americans with the Middle Easterners. Under review.

Sabatay Sevi ve Sabataycılar: Mitler ve Gerçekler (Sabbatai Sevi and Sabbataians: Myths and Realities), Ankara, January 2008.

Articles and Book Chapters

“Save the Sabbatai Sevi House from Oblivion,” International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 40:1 (2008).

“In search of the Name: A History of Naming Ottoman/Sabbatian Communities,” in Studies on Istanbul and beyond: the Freely Papers, ed. Robert G. Ousterhout, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2007: 37-53.

“A Jewish Messiah from Tartaria in 1671: A New Source on the Lives of Lesser Sabbatian Prophets, Sabbatai Raphael and/or Shilo Sabbatai,” Kabbalah: Journal for the Study of Jewish Mystical Texts, Fall 2003: 63-75.

"A Survey on the status of the Turkish and Ottoman Studies in North America", published in Harvard Middle Eastern and Islamic Review, 5, (2000): 103-124.


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