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Rare issue of the Oxford Gazette...
Sabbatai, the long-awaited Jewish Messiah... perhaps the oldest mention in a newspaper...
Item # 653765
December 11, 1665
THE OXFORD GAZETTE, England, Dec. 11, 1665 The best content is the great Judaica item on the back page, being a report datelined Harlem and noting: "It is now about 3 months since the Jews gave out that near 600000 men were arrived at Mecha professing themselves to be of the lost Tribes. Since which it is affirmed that a new Prophet is arisen in Jerusalem, who finding no credit there went to Gaza, where working several miracles he obliged the Rabbi's of Jerusalem to repair thither, who upon a conference accepted him as a great Prophet, and that the Bassa's of Jerusalem and Gaze were inclined to go and kiss his hands. This Prophet (say they) fortells the restoration of the House of Israel, and to that purpose hath invited a young man of the Tribe of David, called Sabbati Zevi, for their King who was followed by Thousands of People, and that he intended for Constantinople to demand the Empire. It is strange that no only the Jews here, but some hundreds that own the name of Christians, among us, think themselves concerned in it, though the wiser sort of people sufficiently understand the cheat." (see).
This is concerning the famed Sabbatai Zevi who claimed to be the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. This may be the earliest mention of him within a bonafide newspaper.
Note: Whereas there are London Gazette mentions of him in what appears to be March, 1665 issues, due to their use of the Julian Calendar which ran its year from April through March, the issues are actually from 1666 (using today's calendar). Their issue nos. verify this as well - with this issue being #8.
This is an extremely famous--and rare--title, being the predecessor of the famous "London Gazette", the oldest continually published English language newspaper in the world. Plus this is the #8 issue. Also, because of the Plague at this time, the Royal Court had removed itself from London to Oxford when this newspaper began, so issues #1 thru #23 were published simultaneously in Oxford & London and when the contagion had subsided & the Court returned to London this newspaper went with it and renamed itself "The London Gazette" with issue #24, and the rest is history.
Much of the additional content is entirely taken up with reports from various parts of Europe, most with a military theme. The front page has a bit from Dorset County noting: "'Tis now five weeks when the sickness first brake forth in for houses of this town, and since that time not any other house infected. Only one person died of the Plague these 20 dayes so that last Saturday we had a plentifull market of corn and other provisions, and several that left the town are now come home and others preparing for their return."
Complete as a single sheet issue, 7 by 11 1/4 inches, and in very nice, clean condition.
Certainly a very scarce newspaper and a cornerstone issue for any early newspaper or Judaic collection, being an early issue of the world's oldest continually published newspaper with perhaps the earliest newspaper reference to Sabbatai Zevi.
Category: The 1600's and 1700's