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Illuminated by the Light of Islam and the Glory of the Ottoman Sultanate: Self-Narratives of Conversion to Islam in the Age of Confessionalization

  • Tijana Krstić (a1)
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1 Murad B. Abdullah, Kitāb-ı tesviyetü't-teveccüh ilā'l-hakk, British Library, Add. 19894, 148 a–b.

2 See for example Questier Micheal, Conversion, Politics and Religion in England, 1580–1625 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 1239.; Carlebach Elisheva, Divided Souls: Converts from Judaism in Germany, 1500–1750 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001); Pollmann Judith, “A Different Road to God: The Protestant Experience of Conversion in the Sixteenth-Century,” in van der Veer Peter, ed., Conversion to Modernities: The Globalization of Christianity (New York and London: Routledge: 1995), 4764.

3 On Ottoman self-narratives and the concept of autobiography in the Ottoman context, see Kafadar Cemal, “Self and Others: The Diary of a Dervish in Seventeenth-Century Istanbul and First-Person Narratives in Ottoman Literature,” Studia Islamica 69 (1989): 121–50; and Terzioğlu Derin, “Man in the Image of God in the Image of the Times: Sufi Self-Narratives and the Diary of Niyāzī-i Mısrī (1618–1694),” Studia Islamica 94 (2002): 139–65. For further examples of self-narratives see Fleischer Cornell H., Bureaucrat and Intellectual in the Ottoman Empire: The Historian Mustafa Ali (1541–1600) (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986); Kafadar Cemal, “Mütereddit bir mutasavvıf: Üsküp'lü Asiye Hatun'un Rüya Defteri, 1641–43,” Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi Yıllık 5 (1992): 168222; and Faroqhi Suraiya, Subjects of the Sultan: Culture and Daily Life in the Ottoman Empire (London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2000), 192203..

4 See Kafadar, “Self and Others,” 125–38.

5 Ibid., 125–26.

6 For an overview on the concept of “confessionalization,” see Schilling Heinz, “Confessionalization: Historical and Scholarly Perspectives of a Comparative and Interdisciplinary Paradigm,” in Headley J. M., Hillerbrand H. J., and Papalas A. J., eds., Confessionalization in Europe, 1555–1700 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004), 2136..

7 The most recent collaborative work on religious trends in early modern Europe acknowledges the need for further research on the mutual influences of early modern Christianity, Judaism, and Islam in Europe's “religious borderlands.” Nevertheless, Islam remains tangential to the discussion even in this ambitious multi-volume study on the topic. See Schilling Heinz and Toth Istvan György, eds., Cultural Exchange in Early Modern Europe, Vol. I: Religion and Cultural Exchange in Europe, 1400–1700 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

8 On the category of “early modern” (and the Ottomans' place in it), see Goldstone Jack A., “The Problem of the ‘Early Modern’ World,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 41, 3 (1998): 249–84; and Subrahmanyam Sanjay, “Connected Histories: Notes towards Reconfiguration of Early Modern Eurasia,” Modern Asian Studies 31, 3 (1997): 735–62.

9 See especially Goffman Daniel, The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002); Agoston Gabor, “Information, Ideology, and Limits of Imperial Policy: Ottoman Grand Strategy in the Context of Ottoman-Habsburg Rivalry,” in Aksan Virginia and Goffman Daniel, eds., Early Modern Ottomans: Remapping the Empire (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 75103; and Daniel Goffman, “Negotiating with the Renaissance State: The Ottoman Empire and the New Diplomacy,” in ibid., 61–74.

10 See, for instance, Jardine Lisa and Brotton Jerry, Global Interests: Renaissance Art between East and West (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000); Orbay Ayşe, ed., The Sultan's Portrait: Picturing the House of Osman (Istanbul: Işbank, 2000); MacLean Gerald, ed., Re-Orienting the Renaissance: Cultural Exchanges with the East (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005); Birchwood Matthew and Dimmock Matthew, Cultural Encounters between East and West, 1453–1699 (London: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2005).

11 See Peirce Leslie, Morality Tales: Law and Gender in the Ottoman Court of Aintab (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), and the “Book Forum” devoted to it in the Journal of Women's History 18, 1 (2006): 181–202; and Walter Andrews and Mehmet Kalpakli, The Age of Beloveds (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005).

12 See Bennassar Bartholomé and Bennassar Lucile, Les Chrétiens d'Allah: L'histoire extraordinaire des renégats, XVIe–XVIIe siècles (Paris: Perrin, 1989); Garcia-Arenal Mercedes and Wiegers Gerard, A Man of Three Worlds: Samuel Pallache, A Moroccan Jew in Catholic and Protestant Europe (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003); Dursteler Eric, Venetians in Constantinople: Nation, Identity and Coexistence in the Early Modern Mediterranean (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), 103–29; Davis Natalie Z., Trickster Travels: A Sixteenth-Century Muslim between Worlds (New York: Hill and Wang, 2006); and E. Natalie Rothman, “Between Venice and Istanbul: Trans-Imperial Subjects and Cultural Mediation in the Early Modern Mediterranean,” Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 2006.

13 For the Ottoman case, see Fleischer Cornell H., “Shadows of Shadows: Prophecy and Politics in 1530s Istanbul,” International Journal of Turkish Studies 13, 1–2 (2007): 5152; and his “The Lawgiver as Messiah: The Making of the Imperial Image in the Reign of Süleyman,” in Veinstein Gilles, ed., Soliman le Magnifique et son temps (Paris: n.p., 1992), 159–77. But see also Finlay Robert, “Prophecy and Politics in Istanbul: Charles V, Sultan Süleyman, and the Habsburg Embassy of 1533–1534,” Journal of Early Modern History 2, 1 (1998): 131; and Necipoğlu Gülrü, “Suleiman the Magnificent and the Representation of Power in the Context of Ottoman-Habsburg-Papal Rivalry,” Art Bulletin 71, 3 (1989), 402–25. For other European cases, see Yates Frances A., Astraea: The Imperial Theme in the Sixteenth Century (New York: Routledge, 1975); Pagden Antony, Lords of All the World: Ideologies of Empire in Spain, Britain and France c. 1500–1800 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), 26; and Reeves Marjorie, The Influence of Prophecy in the Later Middle Ages: A Study in Joachimism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969), 359–76.

14 See Subrahmanyam Sanjay, “Turning the Stones Over: Sixteenth-Century Millenarianism from the Tagus to the Ganges,” Indian Economic and Social History Review 40, 2 (2003): 129–61. On sixteenth-century millenarianism, see also Niccoli Ottavia, Prophecy and People in Renaissance Italy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990); Kagan Richard, Lucrecia's Dreams: Politics and Prophecy in Sixteenth-Century Spain (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1990).

15 MacCullouch D., Laven M., and Duffy E., “Recent Trends in the Study of Christianity in Sixteenth-Century Europe,” Renaissance Quarterly 59 (2006): 709. See also O'Malley John W., Trent and All That: Renaming Catholicism in the Early Modern Era (Boston: Harvard University Press, 2000), 108–15.

16 Literature on the subject abounds, but see especially Hsia Ronnie Po-Chia, Social Discipline in the Reformation: Central Europe 1550–1750 (New York: Routledge, 1989); O'Malley, Trent and All That, 92–118; de Boer Wietse, “Social Discipline in Italy: Peregrinations of a Historical Paradigm,” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 94 (2003): 294307; Schilling, “Confessionalization,” 21–36.

17 Although the Mughal Emperors in India also drew on millenarianism and the notion of a universal empire, and relied on religion to strengthen their state-building project, peculiar local conditions led the Mughal Sultan Akbar to eventually adopt in the 1580s a very inclusive brand of Islam that would not alienate any of the constituent ethnic groups comprising the Mughal elite. See Subrahmanyam, “Turning the Stones,” 149–52.

18 On confessionalization “from below” versus “from above,” see de Boer, “Social Discipline in Italy,” 294–307.

19 See Fischer-Galati Stephen A., Ottoman Imperialism and German Protestantism, 1521–1555 (New York: Octagon Books, 1972).

20 Murad b. Abdullah, Kitāb, 149a.

21 Pál Ács, “Tarjumans Mahmud and Murad. Austrian and Hungarian Renegades as Sultan's Interpreters,” in Kühlmann Wilhelm and Guthmüller Bodo, eds., Europa und die Türken in der Renaissance (Tübingen: Frühe Neuzeit, 2000), 307–16.

22 See Gerlach Stefan, Türkiye günlüğü 1573–1576, vol. 1, Noyan T., trans. (Istanbul: Kitap yayınevi, 2006), 98; Matuz Josef, “Die Pfortendolmetscher zur Herrschaftszeit Süleyman des Prächtigen,” Südost-Forschungen 24 (1975): 54.

23 On early Ottoman policies, see Kafadar Cemal, Between Two Worlds (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 118–50; and Lowry Heath, The Nature of the Early Ottoman State (New York: SUNY Press, 2003), 5594. On early converts, see Inalcık Halil, Hicri 835 Tarihli Suret-i Defter-i Sanacak-i Arvanid (Ankara:Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1954); Delilbaşı Melek, “Christian Sipahis in the Tırhala Taxation Registers (15th and 16th Centuries),” in Anatastasopoulos A., ed., Provincial Elites in the Ottoman Empire (Herakleion: Crete University Press, 2005), 87114; Minkov Anton, Conversion to Islam in the Balkans. Kisve Bahasi Petitions and Ottoman Social Life, 1670–1730 (Leiden: Brill, 2004), 3740.

24 On the peculiar nature of Ottoman slavery, see Toledano Ehud, Slavery and Abolition in the Ottoman Middle East (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1998).

25 For instance, Mihailović Konstantin was captured during the Ottoman siege of Novo Brdo (Kosovo) in 1455 and enlisted into the janissary corps. See his Memoirs of a Janissary, Stolz Benjamin and Soucek Svat, trans. and commentary (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1975).

26 See Ginio Eyal, “Childhood, Mental Capacity and Conversion to Islam in the Ottoman State,” Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 25 (2001): 90119; Baer Marc, “Islamic Conversion Narratives of Women: Social Change and Gendered Religious Hierarchy in Early Modern Ottoman Istanbul,” Gender and History 16, 2 (2004), 425–48; Krstić Tijana, “How to Read Ottoman Soldiers' Stories,” forthcoming in Turkish Studies Association Journal 29 (2008). For the same development in other Muslim contexts, see Dale Stephen, “Trade, Conversion and the Growth of the Islamic Community in Kerala, South India,” Studia Islamica 71 (1990): 155–75; and Bulliet Richard, Conversion to Islam in the Medieval Period (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979), 4363.

27 See Dutton Yasin, “Conversion to Islam: The Qur'anic Paradigm,” in Lamb Christopher and Bryant M. Darrol, eds., Religious Conversion: Contemporary Practices and Controversies (London: Cassell, 1999), 151–65.

28 See Bulliet, Conversion to Islam in the Medieval Period, 33–64. For the development of the custom of endowing converts with new clothes, which predates the Ottoman period, see Minkov, Conversion to Islam in the Balkans, 152–58.

29 See Fleischer, “The Lawgiver as Messiah; and Gülrü Necipoğlu, The Age of Sinan (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2005), 36–38.

30 See Minkov, Conversion to Islam in the Balkans, 67–77, 195–96.

31 Ibid., 195–96.

32 Murad b. Abdullah, Kitāb, 149a.

33 On the proselytization to captives of war brought to Istanbul, see Gerlach, Türkiye günlüğü I, 186. On manumission and the role of conversion in this process in the Ottoman Empire, see Fisher Alan, “Studies in Ottoman Slavery and the Slave Trade II: Manumission,” Journal of Turkish Studies 4 (1980): 4956.

34 Bulliet Richard, “Conversion Stories in Early Islam,” in Gervers Michael and Bikhazi Ramzi J., eds., Conversion and Continuity: Indigenous Christian Communities in Islamic Lands, Eighth to Eighteenth Centuries (Toronto, 1990), 123–33; Giovanna Calasso, “Récits de conversions, zèle dévotionnel et instruction religieuse dans les biographes des “gens de Basra” du Kitab al-Tabaqat d' Ibn Sa'd,” in García-Arenal Mercedes, ed., Conversions islamiques: Identités religieuses en Islam méditeranéen (Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose, 2002), 1948.

35 Calasso, “Récits,” 20; Bulliet, “Conversion Stories,” 131.

36 Calasso, 33. For the classical formulation of conversion as transformation of heart and soul, see Nock Arthur D., Conversion: The Old and New in Religion from Alexander the Great to Augustine of Hippo (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1933), 7. See also Fredricksen Paula, “Paul and Augustine: Conversion Narratives, Orthodox Traditions, and the Retrospective Self,” Journal of Theological Studies 37 (1986): 334.

37 See for example Jean and Comaroff John, Of Revelation and Revolution I (University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1991), 249; Talal Asad, “Comments on Conversion,” in Conversion to Modernities, 263–73; Keane Webb, “From Fetishism to Sincerity: Agency, the Speaking Subject, and Their Historicity in the Context of Religious Conversion,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 39, 4 (1997): 674–93. On the relationship between the post-Tridentine conversion narratives and the accounts of Paul and Augustine see Pollman, “A Different Road,” 48–52; and Carlebach, Divided Souls, 88–123.

38 Bulliet, “Conversion Stories,” 131.

39 See Reynolds Dwight F. et al. , Interpreting the Self: Autobiography in the Arabic Literary Tradition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), 194.

40 On Samuel see Mercedes García-Arenal, “Dreams and Reason: Autobiographies of Converts in Religious Polemics,” in Conversions Islamiques, 94–100; and Stroumsa Sarah, “On Jewish Intellectuals Who Converted in the Early Middle Ages,” in Frank Daniel, ed., The Jews of Medieval Islam (Leiden: Brill, 1995), 191–97. On Turmeda , de Epalza Miguel, Fray Anselm Turmeda (‘Abdallāh al-Taryumān) y su polémica islamo-cristiana, 3d ed. (Madrid: Hiperion, 1994).

41 See García-Arenal, “Dreams,” 93–94.

42 See Epalza, Fray Anselm, 92–118; García-Arenal, “Dreams,” 96–97, 101.

43 Rummel Erika, The Confessionalization of Humanism in Reformation Germany (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 10.

44 Murad participated in the peace negotiations between the Habsburg ambassadors and the Ottoman Porte in the 1550s and 1570s as a second imperial dragoman. In the meantime, he wrote the Guide during 1556–1557, translated Cicero's De senectute into Ottoman Turkish at the commission of the Venetian bailo Marino di Cavalli around 1559, and translated the Guide into Latin in 1567–1569. Sometime between 1580 and 1582 he wrote a number of religious hymns on the unity of God in Ottoman Turkish, which he presented in a parallel translation into Hungarian and Latin. Finally, as an elderly man dismissed from imperial service due to his “immoderate enjoyment of wine,” he translated Mehmed Neşri's Ottoman chronicle into Latin for Philip Haniwald of Eckersdorf in return for a small per diem. This translation became one of the central texts of the Codex Hanivaldanus. On his works, including the short reference to his treatise, see Babinger Franz, “Der Pfortendolmetsch Murad und seine Schriften” in Babinger Franz et al. , eds., Literaturdenkmäler aus Ungarns Türkenzeit (Berlin, Leipzig: 1927), 3354. On his work as an imperial interpreter see Matuz, “Die Pfortendolmetcher,” 54–55 and Àcs, “Tarjumans,” 310.

45 Murad b. Abdullah, Kitāb, 153a.

46 Ibid., 150b.

47 On the history of tahrīf as a polemical trope see Aydın Mehmet, Müslümanların Hristiyanlara Karşı Yazdığı Reddiyeler ve Tartışma Konuları (Ankara: Diyanet Vakfı, 1998), 145–84.

48 Murad b. Abdullah, Kitāb, 12a–b.

49 On this issue, see Abdul-Raof Hussein, Qur'an Translation: Discourse, Texture and Exegesis (New York: Routledge, 2001).

50 See Gerlach, Türkiye günlüğü I, 101–3, 156, 239.

51 Murad's letters to the Transylvanian voyvoda Stephan Bathory (see note 76) testify to his close relations to Transylvania where Unitarianism was developing into a state religion. On Murad's hymns see Babinger, Literaturdenkmäler, 45–51.

52 For anti-Trinitarians in Italy and their belief in the humanity of Jesus and unity of God see Martin John J., Venice's Hidden Enemies: Italian Heretics in a Renaissance City (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), 99122. For anti-Trinitarians and their affinity with Islam see for instance Mout M.E.H.N., “Calvinoturcismus und Chiliasmus im 17. Jahrhundert.” Pietismus und Neuzeit 14 (1988): 7284; and Ritchie Susan, “The Islamic Ottoman Influence on the Development of Religious Toleration in Reformation Transylvania,” Seasons (Spring-Summer 2004): 5970.

53 Chittick William C., Sufism: A Short Introduction (Oxford: Oneworld, 2000), 22.

54 Most notably, Yazıcızade Mehmed, Mevlāna Kutbeddin Mehmed Iznikī, Mevlāna Rumī, al-Ghazāli, Lami Çelebi, and Ibn ‘Arabi. See Tijana Krstić, “Narrating Conversions to Islam: The Dialogue of Texts and Practices in the Early Modern Ottoman Balkans,” Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 2004, 204–5.

55 Murad b. Abdullah, Kitāb, 150b–151a; Also Krstić, “Narrating,” 198.

56 Murad b. Abdullah, Kitāb, 48a–49b. See also Miyamoto Yoko, “The Influence of Medieval Prophecies on Views of the Turks: Islam and Apocalypticism in the Sixteenth Century,” Journal of Turkish Studies 17 (1993): 125–45.

57 Murad b. Abdullah, Kitāb, 131a–132b.

58 For other polemical narratives authored by Ottoman converts, see Krstić, “Narrating,” 173–97.

59 See Fleischer, “Shadows of Shadows,” 51–52, and “The Lawgiver as Messiah” 159–77; Necipoğlu, “Suleiman the Magnificent,” 402–25.

60 See Imber Colin, Ebu's-su‘ud: The Islamic Legal Tradition (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997), 98110; Necipoğlu, The Age of Sinan, 29.

61 Traditionally, Muslim caliphs could not interpret or add to the holy law, which was a prerogative of the religious scholars. However, as Haim Gerber points out, “Kanun and sharia were enmeshed and the Ottoman ruler intervened into an area of legislation where Ottoman sultans never dared to intervene before or after.” See his State, Society and Law in Islam (New York: SUNY Press, 1994), 88–89.

62 See Parker Geoffrey, The Grand Strategy of Philip II (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998), 95.

63 See Newman Andrew J., Safavid Iran: Rebirth of a Persian Empire (London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2006), 37.

64 See Ocak Ahmet Y., Osmanlı Toplumunda Zındıklar ve Mülhidler (15.–17. Yüzyıllar) (Istanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 1998), 230304. See also Dressler Markus, “Inventing Orthodoxy: Competing Claims for Authority and Legitimacy in the Ottoman Safavid Conflict,” in Karateke Hakan T. and Reinkowski Marius, eds., Legitimizing the Order: The Ottoman Rhetoric of State Power (Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2005), 153–76.

65 See Necipoğlu, The Age of Sinan, 29, 47–59; and Heyd Uriel, Studies in Old Ottoman Criminal Law (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973), 2432, 93–131.

66 See Boer Wietse de, The Conquest of the Soul: Confession, Discipline, and Public Order in Counter Reformation Milan (Leiden: Brill, 2001); and Hsia, Social Discipline, 122–42.

67 See Newman, Safavid Iran, 13–38; Abisaab Rula J., Converting Persia: Religion and Power in the Safavid Empire (London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2004), 1530; Babayan Kathryn, Mystics, Monarchs, and Messiahs (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002), 349–66. See also Quinn Sholeh A., Historical Writing during the Reign of Shah ‘Abbas (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2000), 7686.

68 Consider, for example, dragoman Ali Bey's explanation to Stefan Gerlach, who inquired after differences between Sunnis and Shi‘is: “In their beliefs there is no difference, but Persians do not want to recognize as their caliphs Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman, only Ali, who was Muhammad's son-in-law, and whom they believe the only rightful heir of political authority. They also say that when angel Gabriel brought a section of the Qur'an down from heaven, he made a mistake and gave Muhammad the section that he was supposed to bring to Ali. Because the Qur'an did not come down all at once, but several verses or several leaves at a time … .” Gerlach, Türkiye günlüğü I, 292–93.

69 See Terzioğlu Derin, “The Imperial Circumcision Festival of 1582: An Interpretation,” Muqarnas 12 (1995), 8586.

70 Ibid., 86. In 1578, Stefan Gerlach reports on the conversion of a Safavid governor's chief steward (kahya), who crossed into the Ottoman territory with the governor's entire household. Gerlach explains that the kahya had openly admitted that the Safavid Shi‘a religion was wrong, and was brought to convert in the imperial council. See Gerlach, Türkiye günlüğü II, 795.

71 See Terzioğlu, “The Imperial Circumcision Festival,” 85.

72 Murad states that he translated his work into Latin so that infidels in all parts of Firengistan (i.e., Land of Franks, such as Hungary, Germany, Poland, Bohemia, France, Portugal, and Spain) could be “softened” toward Islam. Kitāb, 148b.

73 See Ocak Ahmet Y., “Les réactions socio-religieuses contre l'idéologie officielle ottomane et la question de zendeqa ve ilhad au XVIe siècle,” Turcica 21–23 (1991): 7375; Fleischer Cornell H., “From Şeyhzade Korkud to Mustafa Ali: Cultural Origins of the Ottoman Nasihatname,” in Lowry Heath and Hattox Ralph, eds., Proceedings of the IIIrd Congress of the Social and Economic History of Turkey (Princeton 24–26 August 1983) (Istanbul: ISIS Press, 1990), 6777; and Fodor Pál, “State and Society, Crisis and Reform, in 15th–17th Century Ottoman Mirror for Princes,” Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 40, 2–3 (1986): 217–40.

74 At the very end of his account Murad writes: “It is my foremost desire to spend my transitory life in ensuring the eternity and auspicious hereafter of the exalted sovereign of the world in the felicitous time of his sultanate. … It is hoped that having distinguished the truth from the illusory I will put my trust in God by consenting to God's decree, and having attained right guidance with God's grace and favor, I will befriend all the believers and all other groups with Islam before the last hour” (Murad b. Abdullah, Kitāb, 153b).

75 See Matar Nabil, Turks, Moors, and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), 109–27.

76 For instance, his personal letters suggest he sought patronage from the Transylvanian voyvoda Stephan Bathory in 1572 and 1573. See Szalay Laszlo, ed., Erdély és a Porta, 1567–78 (Budapest, 1862), 5759, 112–14. Gerlach states that in December 1576 David Ungnad, the Habsburg ambassador to Constantinople, intervened with Sokollu Mehmed Paşa to secure financial support for Murad, who had not been receiving income for years. See Gerlach, Türkiye günlüğü II, 480.

77 See Murad b. Abdullah, Kitāb, 149b–150a; and Babinger, Literaturdenkmäler, 143. On the changes in patron-client relations in the reign of Murad III (1574–1595) and patronage practices of these viziers and other members of the court, see Fleischer, Bureaucrat, 70–190; and E. Fetvaci, “Vezirs to Eunuchs: Transitions in Ottoman Manuscript Patronage, 1566–1617,” Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 2005.

78 See Gerlach, Türkiye günlüğü, I, 239.

79 Besides the complete manuscript in the British Library, about one-third of the account, also in Murad's hand, is at the Österreichischer Nationalbibliothek in Vienna (A.F. 180).

80 I am using the manuscript N.F. 380 from the Österreichischer Nationalbibliothek in Vienna. Another manuscript of the same work from the Süleymaniye Library (Ali Nihat Tarlan 144) carries the copying date of 1035 a.h. (1625), which is the terminus ante quem.

81 N.F. 380, 227b. I thank Cornell Fleischer for his assistance with deciphering some of the more linguistically challenging passages in this text.

82 See Runciman Steven, The Great Church in Captivity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968), 215–17.

83 See Podskalsky Gerhard, Griechische Theologie in der Zeit der Türkenschaft (1481–1821) (München: C. H. Beck Verlag, 1987), 194–95.

84 N.F. 380, 227b–228a.

85 See de Boer, Conquest of the Soul, 60.

86 N.F. 380, 227b–228a.

87 Ibid., 230b.

88 For this episode in the Tuhfa, see Epalza, Fray Anselm, 212–18.

89 Ibid., 48.

90 For dissemination of the Tuhfa in Ottoman Turkish and Turkish, see ibid., 48–54, 177–79.

91 Several copies survive in the Süleymaniye Library in Istanbul: Ali Nihat Tarlan 144, Giresün yazmaları 3610.

92 The earliest dated manuscript of Yusuf's account I was able to locate is MS #2050, 91a–107b, preserved in the Bulgarian National Library in Sofia, which suggests that the text must have been originally written in or before 1088 a.h. (1677/78). Numerous copies of this account also survive in the Süleymaniye Library in Istanbul. See note 91 for manuscripts where Yusuf's account is bound together with Mehmed's and Anselm Turmeda's.

93 MS #2050, 93a.

94 This is borne out by an entry entitled kanun-i nev müslim [The law of the new Muslim] in the collection of Ottoman laws compiled in 1677/78 by Tevkii Abdurrahman Paşa. See “Kanunname,” Milli Tetebbular Mecmuası I (İstanbul 1331), 542. Converts' petitions to the sultan and the Imperial Council asking for stipends and appointments also boomed beginning in the early seventeenth century. See Minkov, Conversion to Islam in the Balkans, 145–63.

95 Başbakanlık Archives, Istanbul, Ali Emiri collection, #757.

96 See Marc D. Baer, “Honored by the Glory of Islam: The Ottoman State, Non-Muslims, and Conversion to Islam in Late-Seventeenth-Century Istanbul and Rumelia,” Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 2001.

97 See Le Strange Guy, ed. and trans., Don Juan of Persia: A Shi‘ah Catholic, 1560–1604 (New York and London: Harper and Brothers, 1926), 299.

98 Ibid., 299–303.

99 See Rothman Natalie E., “Becoming Venetian: Conversion and Transformation in the Seventeenth-Century Mediterranean,” Mediterranean Historical Review 21, 1 (2006): 3975.

100 See Krstić, “Narrating,” 127–31.

101 The earliest of the four copies of this text I was able to locate is Ms Mixt 689, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna), which dates to 1062 a.h./1653. Other copies come from the Süleymaniye Library in Istanbul, Turkey; Vahid Paşa Public Library in Kütahya; and the National Library of Tunisia. I thank my colleague Günhan Börekci of Ohio State University for bringing this text to my attention.

102 The narrative in question belongs to the Sufi genre of sohbetnāme, a record of conversation and companionship, usually between a master and a disciple. On this genre, see Kafadar, “Self and Others,” 126–28; and Terzioğlu, “Man in the Image of God,” 145.

103 Ms Mixt 689, 4a–b; Saliha Hatun 112/2, 79b.

104 For a more detailed discussion of this text, see Krstić, “Narrating Conversions,” 221–33.

105 For a discussion of the Ottoman observers of “decline” and of the modern historiographical “decline paradigm” (which views Ottoman history from 1560 to 1922 as a prolonged decline), see Fleischer Cornell, “Royal Authority, Dynastic Cyclism, and Ibn Khaldunism' in Seventeenth-Century Ottoman Letters,” Journal of Asian and African Studies 18 (1983): 198220; Howard Douglas, “Ottoman Historiography and the Literature of ‘Decline’ of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,” Journal of Asian History 22 (1988): 5277; Kafadar Cemal, “The Question of Ottoman Decline,” Harvard Middle Eastern and Islamic Review 4 (1997–1998): 3071.

106 On the Kadizadeli movement see Zilfi Madeline C., The Politics of Piety: The Ottoman Ulema in the Postclassical Age (1600–1800) (Minneapolis: Biblioteca Islamica, 1988); and Derin Terzioğlu, “Sufi and Dissident in the Ottoman Empire: Niyāzī-ı Mısrī (1618–1694),” Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 1999, 195–276.

107 See note 101.

108 Reported in Abou-El-Haj Rifat, “The Narcissism of Mustafa II (1695–1703): Psychohistorical Study,” Studia Islamica 40 (1974): 115–31.

109 For the latest study on Müteferrika, see Sabev Orlin, İbrahim Müteferrika ya da ilk Osmanlı matbaa serüveni (1726–1746): Yeniden değerlendirme (Istanbul: Yeditepe, 2006). On his Unitarian background see Berkes Niyazi, “Ilk Türk Matbaası Kurucusunun Dinī ve Fikrī Kimliği,” Belleten 26, 104 (1962): 715–37.

110 The manuscript, which is most likely an autograph, is located in the Süleymaniye Library (Esad Efendi 1187), and was recently published by Halil Necatioğlu as Matbaacı Ibrahim-i Müteferrika ve Risāle-i Islāmiye (tenkidli metin) (Ankara: Elif Matbaacılık, 1982).

111 Müteferrika relates that from early childhood he was persistent in his study of the Old Testament (Tevrāt), the Gospels (Incīl), and the Psalms (Zebūr). Having perfected his knowledge of the scriptures, and having been appointed to perform sermons, he felt a great desire to secretly study the “old sections” of the Old Testament that had been forbidden to him by the master teachers. He says that he first studied a verse in Greek that announced Muhammad's arrival as the last in the line of prophets, the concept that was removed from numerous places in the books he had studied before. Having embraced the divine guidance, he confronted his teachers asserting that they had altered the holy books and refused to believe in Muhammad. He then decided to translate into Turkish some verses from the holy books in Greek that predict the coming of Muhammad as the prophet of the Last Age. See Necatioğlu, Risāle-yi Islāmiye, 55–56.

112 Ibid., 56.

113 On converts' petitions, see Minkov, Conversion to Islam in the Balkans, 145–98. On conversion in court records, see Baer, “Islamic Conversion Narratives of Women,” 438–52.

114 We know, for instance, that a partially completed manuscript copy of Murad b. Abdullah's treatise was obtained and bequeathed to the oriental collection of the Imperial Library in Vienna by Sebastian Tengnagel, the librarian from 1608 to 1636. See Flügel Gustav, Die arabischen, persischen und türkischen Handschriften der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hofbibliothek zu Wien, vol. 3 (Wien: K. K. Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1867), 131.

Acknowledgments: The research for this article was made possible through the generous support of the Social Science Research Council and the American Research Institute in Turkey. I thank my colleagues David Atwill, Nina Safran, Kumkum Chatterjee, Ronnie Hsia, Ebru Turan, Natalie Rothman, Tolga Esmer, and the anonymous CSSH reviewers for their insightful comments and helpful suggestions.

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Comparative Studies in Society and History
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