Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

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Exilarch and Exilarchate
(2,222 words)

The title exilarch (Aram. resh galuta, Heb. rosh ha-gola, Ar. ra’s al-jalut) was given to those who held one of the principal offices of centralized Jewish administrative authority during the Middle Ages. The exilarchate first comes into view as an office responsible for administering the communal affairs of Babylonian Jewry in late antiquity. By the third century the family that controlled the exilarchate had developed, as a justification for its rule, a claim of descent from the line of King David, mirroring the royal ancestry alleged by the patriarchs in Palestin…

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Arnold Franklin, “Exilarch and Exilarchate”, in: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Consulted online on 25 September 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1878-9781_ejiw_COM_0007510>
First published online: 2010

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