Religious Actors and Societal Transformation: The Role of the Dönme in the Late Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic

mit Marc Baer (Irvine, California)

Der Vortrag von Prof. Marc Baer wird sich mit der “osmanischen Moderne” beschäftigen. Sucht man einen Zugang zu dieser Phase, die durch Niedergang, Dekadenz, Stillstand und andere Schlagworte der orientalistischen Forschung kaum beschrieben werden kann, und deren beeindruckendes Gesellschaftsporträt der Schriftsteller Amin Maalouf in der “Spur des Patriarchen” zeichnet, muss man die immer wieder reproduzierte Trennung zwischen “uns” und den “Anderen” ignorieren.

Der Vortrag Baers in englischer Sprache wird sich mit einem wenig erforschten Bereich der Geschichte des Nahen Ostens beschäftigen, den sogenannten Dönme und ihrer Bedeutung für das progressive, säkulare Klima in osmanischen Städten um die Jahrhundertwende 1900:

The Dönme were an ethno-religious group formed by Ottoman Jews who converted to Islam following the example of the messianic claimant Shabbatai Tzevi three centuries ago. After their initial conversion, the Dönme were accepted as Muslims for two centuries, and by the end of the nineteenth century, they had risen to the top of Salonikan society. From that vantage point, they were able to help transform Ottoman Salonika into a cosmopolitan city by promoting the newest innovations in trade and finance, urban reform, and modern education, literature, architecture, and local politics.

To their admirers, they were enlightened secularists and Turkish nationalists who fought against the dark forces of superstition and religious obscurantism. But to their opponents, they were atheists, or simply Jews who had engaged in a secret Jewish plot to dissolve the Islamic empire and replace it with an anti-Muslim secular republic led by a crypto-Jew. Both points of view, whether complimentary or critical, assumed that the Dönme were anti-religious. However, the historical record shows that the Dönme created a new form of ethno-religious belief, practice, and identity, which made them distinct, while promoting a morality, ethics, and spirituality that reflected their origins at the intersection of Jewish Kabbalah and Islamic Sufism.

The talk will focus on the pivotal role that education at Dönme schools played in transforming the late Ottoman Empire and how that role has been remembered in the Turkish Republic.

Mi, 11.05.11 I 18.30 I Melanchthonianum, Universitätsplatz Halle

http://www.aktualitaet.tk