Positions of Jewish Leadership

Sources of Authority and Power

in European Judaism
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  • 1 Leo Baeck College marc.saperstein@lbc.ac.uk
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The following broad-and admittedly rather superficial-survey of Jewish leadership types spans several millennia, from the biblical period to the present. A wide variety of positions with varying claims to authority will be reviewed: biblical charismatic 'judges', elders, priests, and prophets; rabbis and Exilarchs, emerging in late antiquity; wealthy laymen and courtiers in the Middle Ages; Hasidic rebbes and maskilim as new modes of leadership in the modern era. In each case the nature of leaders' claim to authority and the extent of their power within the Jewish community will be assessed. Different types of leaders often coexisted with a kind of division of labour, but cases of strong conflicts are of special interest.

European Judaism

A Journal for the New Europe

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