Anthony Mayer ;  alternative history ;  Jonathan Edelstein's Spinoza in Turkey - Appendix
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1. Preface

2. Spinoza's World, 1664

3. The Sabbateans

4. The Disputation

5. The Holy Land

6. Marriage

7. Common Prayer

8. America

9. Gottfried and Sophia

10. The Sublime Porte

11. Spinoza's World, 1691

12. Mustafa and the Janissaries

13. Naomi

14. Regime Change

15. Tulips

16. Twilight

17. Spinoza's World, 1712

18. Epilogue


Spinoza in Turkey


Dramatis Personae
  • marks historical characters
  • marks non-historical characters
    • Hayati ABRAVANEL - court physician to Mehmed IV
    • Naomi bat Baruch Spinoza ADI - daughter of Baruch SPINOZA
    • Yonatan ben Mordechai ADI - husband of Naomi Spinoza ADI
    • Sultan AHMED II
    • Sultan AHMED III
    • Avraham AMIGO - respected rabbi in Jerusalem and enemy of SPINOZA
    • Queen ANNE of England (later the United Kingdom)
    • John ARBUTHNOT - Scottish physician and satirist
    • Gerald AUNGIER - Governor of Bombay, 1672-75
    • Lt. Col. Jacob BEHRENS - Commander, 14th Allegheny Rifles
    • Leffmann BEHRENS - Court Jew (Hofjude) in Hanover
    • Leila BEHRENS - wife of Jacob BEHRENS
    • Mara Adi BEHRENS - daughter of Naomi and Yonatan ADI
    • Naftali Herz BEHRENS - Son of Leffmann BEHRENS
    • Israel BEN ELIEZER (Baal Shem Tov) - founder of Hasidism
    • Joshua ben Israel BENVENISTI - Rabbi in Constantinople, early opponent of SPINOZA who became one of his chief supporters after the affair of Sabbatai ZEVI
    • Chaim ben Israel BENVENISTI - Rabbi in Smyrna, supporter of
    • Sabbatai ZEVI
    • Yomtov Hananya BENYAKAR - Chief Rabbi of Constantinople until 1677, opponent of SPINOZA
    • Demir CELER - cousin of Ismet CELER, shipping magnate
    • Ismet CELER - founder of the Rational Society in Constantinople
    • James EMOTT - lawyer in New York, counsel for the Anti-Leislerian candidates in the New York Common Schools Controversy
    • Duke (later Elector) ERNST AUGUST of Hanover
    • Duke GEORG LUDWIG of Hanover (later George I of Britain)
    • Andrew HAMILTON - Virginia attorney, counsel for the Leislerians in the New York Common Schools Controversy
    • Christiaan HUYGENS - Dutch natural philosopher
    • Musa IBN-HIKMAT - civil engineer in the service of the Khedive of Egypt
    • ISMAIL II - Khedive of Egypt to 1753
    • ISMAIL III - Khedive of Egypt after 1753
    • Numan KPRL - Ottoman Grand Vizier, 1704-10
    • Gottfried von LEIBNIZ - natural philosopher, court historian to Duke ERNST AUGUST and later to Queen SOPHIA of England
    • Asser LEVY - Jewish settler in New Amsterdam
    • John LOCKE - English philosopher
    • Sultan MEHMET IV
    • MENACHEM MENDEL of Dessau - father of Musa IBN-HIKMAT
    • Jacob MENDES - Dutch Jewish philosopher
    • Sultan MUSTAFA II
    • NATHAN of Gaza - disciple of Sabbatai ZEVI
    • Sir Isaac NEWTON - English natural philosopher
    • Fazil Mustafa PASHA - Ottoman Grand Vizier, 1689-91
    • William PENN - Quaker leader, founder of Pennsylvania
    • Joseph (Haham) SALTIEL - Secretary to Baruch SPINOZA, political leader of the Rational Jewish community in Constantinople
    • Issachar SENDEROWICZ - Rationalist in Poland
    • Duchess (later Electress) SOPHIA of Hanover, later Queen of England
    • Baruch SPINOZA
    • Sarah bat Joshua Benvenisti de SPINOZA - wife of Baruch SPINOZA
    • Peter STUYVESANT - governor of New Amsterdam
    • Sultan SULEIMAN II
    • Clara Marie VAN DEN ENDEN - childhood love of Baruch SPINOZA
    • Simon Valentine VAN DER WILDEN - brother-in-law of Asser LEVY
    • Rachel Sara WAHL - mother of Musa IBN-HIKMAT
    • King WILLIAM III of England
    • Jacob ZEMAH - rabbi in Jerusalem, opponent of Sabbatai ZEVI
    • Sabbatai ZEVI - false Messiah, later keeper of the gates at the Sultan's palace
    • Sarah ZEVI - wife (never consummated) of Sabbatai ZEVI

    The Works of Spinoza
    • have historical counterparts
    • do not have historical counterparts
      • Ethics (1663)
      • Treatise on God, Man and his Well-Being (1664)
      • Against Zevi (1666)
      • On Religion (1671)
      • Against Dogma (1674)
      • On the Regulation of Reason (1683)
      • On Emancipation (1684)
      • The Measurement of Law (1691)
      • Defense of Common Schools (1692)
      • The University (1693)
      • The State (1698)
      • Public Charity (1702)
      • Science and Reason (1703)
      • Mind and Matter (1707)
      • Metaphysical Thoughts (1709)

      As discussed in the timeline, Spinoza's ATL works also include translations of Hebrew commentary and poetry, a translation and commentary on the Koran, various minor political and theological treatises, and correspondence with philosophers throughout Europe and the Ottoman realm. In addition, significant works by other authors are mentioned at various points during the timeline. These include: Naomi Spinoza Adi, Seven Virtues (1701); Herz Behrens, Lady of Israel (1683), Esther the Queen (1685) and The Princess (1707); Ismet Celer, Free Will (1688), The Civil Law (1690) and Against Slavery (1705); Musa ibn-Hikmat, Faith and Reason (1772); Gottfried von Leibniz, Notes on the Social Calculus (1707); Jacob Mendes, Capital (1760); Isaac Newton, Dialogue on the Purity of Reason (1725); Sarah de Spinoza, Reflections on the Female Sex, by a humble Member thereof (1675), Moses' Wife (1691), On the Complaints of Women (1709) and The Rekindling (1719).

      Between Spinoza and the others, this is a total of thirty alternate books - plenty for ATL philosophers to chew on for centuries to come.


      In preparing this timeline, I drew from many sources. Some of them are cited in the footnotes to the individual episodes, and there are too many others to mention individually here. Key among them are Spinoza's works of OTL, and for these I am indebted to Joseph B. Yesselman's excellent Spinoza site. I also drew from numerous on-line editions of the works of other major Enlightenment figures, particularly Locke and Newton.

      My major source for Spinoza's personal life and character was Steven M. Nadler's Spinoza: A Life (Cambridge Univ. Press 1999). This book was obviously of limited use for events after 1660, but it provided insight into Spinoza's background and personality apart from the evidence in his works.

      For the Electress Sophia, I relied on Maria Kroll's Sophie, Electress of Hanover: A Personal Portrait (London: Gollancz, 1973); for William Penn, Harry Emerson Wilde's William Penn (New York: Macmillan, 1974). My primary source for contemporary Ottoman history and politics was Stanford J. Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1976), although I supplemented it with many other sources and introduced a major random factor in Egypt.

      For the Pennsylvania Frame of Government and the constitution of the alternate Allegheny colony, I drew from the collection of American constitutional documents maintained by the Yale University Avalon Project.

      Finally, this project would not have been possible without the input, advice and catcalls of those who responded on and off-list. First honors, of course, go to Anthony Mayer, but the hand of many other s.h.w-i contributors can be seen in *Spinoza's life and work. I would like to express my appreciation to, among others, Syd Webb for making the comment that inspired the Social Calculus, Dan McDonald for suggesting that I include Leibniz, Matt Alderman for pointing me to the Jewish composers of Renaissance Italy, Randy McDonald for his advice on the Sephardic Hebrew novel, Carlos Yu and David Greenbaum for helping me hash out the agriculture of the Allegheny colony, Chet Arthur for calling out encouragement every chance he got (even when I posted a list of episodes), and many more - Sophia, Benjamin Adams, Bernard Guerrero, Aaron Kuperman, Rich Rostrom and others. If I haven't mentioned your name, don't worry; I haven't forgotten you.

      Author's Afterword

      Spinoza in Turkey is my first extended timeline. In the years that I've posted to s.h.w-i, I've generally preferred the essay format for my alternate history ideas; I've participated in two collective timelines (Submission and For All Nails), but this is my first solo project. As you may have guessed from the intervals between installments, it was an exercise in total immersion.

      This was not an easy timeline to write. A timeline involving ideas is much more unpredictable than one involving kings, battles or even technology, depending as it does on how those ideas are received and built upon by others. Ideas jump from mind to mind, sometimes racing far ahead of technology or practical politics and other times having a profound effect on the everyday world. Their influence on other ideas is hard to predict; their influence on politics is even less so.

      The task of determining the effect of *Spinoza's works, however, was made easier by the other s.h.w-i participants who responded to my posts. In a very real sense, Anthony Mayer and Syd Webb were Newton and Leibniz to my Spinoza, giving me a hint of how other intelligent minds might react to the ideas discussed in the timeline. There are far worse places than s.h.w-i to lab-test alternate philosophy.

      Spinoza in Turkey is, in many ways, a maximum-effect timeline. There may be plausible scenarios in which a longer-lived Spinoza would have greater impact on the world, but if so, I don't know what they are. Spinoza, granted longer life, might well have taken up alchemy like Newton or written endless repetitions of his earlier ideas rather than inventing reform Judaism and playing the role of an early Kant. On the other hand, Spinoza the Alchemist or Spinoza the Cranky Old Dutchman would have been boring. I make no apologies for giving *Spinoza a colorful and inventive life.

      All the same, I did my best not to transgress the bounds of plausibility. Everything that happened in the timeline is, I believe, consistent with the known character of Spinoza and with the 17th century's attitudes, politics and state of knowledge. Even the redoubtable Sarah is IMO a possible figure; she certainly pushed the envelope of gender roles by the standards of her time, but there were other remarkable women who did as much or more. In those cases where I did postulate a change in social attitudes, I tried to provide a plausible reason for doing so.

      Surprisingly enough, the epilogue was the hardest episode to write, both because it required me to think through sixty years at once and because the butterfly wings were beginning to flap at hurricane force. I used more ahistorical characters in the epilogue than in the other 17 episodes combined, and by the final scene, I was just short of the line that separates alternate history from fantasy. I doubt I could carry it much farther with any plausibility, although I hereby declare the timeline open to anyone who might want to continue it or fill in the blanks.

      Spinoza in Turkey is many things, but most of all, it has been a learning experience. When I began this project, I had no idea how intense, educational and enjoyable - not to mention how long - it would turn out to be. Now, 18 posts, 42,000 words and 92 footnotes later, it's finished.

      Last modified: Thu Oct 10 12:20:44 BST 2002