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SabathaiSabathai, Levi (1625-76), Jewish impostor, who pretended to be the Messiah, was born in Smyrna, and in youth acquired a knowledge of theology and of Arabic, which enabled him to pass for a learned and devout man. He had such powers of persuasion that few could resist him, and when, after an adventurous career in Syria, Italy, Greece, and elsewhere, he joined with an accomplice to personate the Messiah, great numbers fully believed in him. His accomplice, named Nathan, acted as a kind of precursor, and the Jews readily fell into the trap, multitudes renouncing their goods and following him, frantic with joy at the coming of the Messiah, as they deemed him. Finally, however,Sabathai was brought before Mohomet IV., Sultan of Turkey,who forced him by various expedience to confess his imposture, and he became a Mussulman to save his life.
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