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(314 words)

[German Version]

Gaon, Heb. גאון/ga'on, pl. ge'onim, from bibl. גָאוׄן/gā'ôn (“lordliness, majesty, pride”), is a title given esp. to the heads of the leading rabbinical academies in Babylonia and (later) in Israel (Palestine) during the so-called Gaonic (or Geonic) period (c. mid-6th – mid-11th cent.), though it was still in use thereafter. It is probably derived from ראש ישיבת גאון יעקב (ro'sh yeshivat ge'on ya'aqov [cf. Ps 47:5], “head of the academy [Yeshivah] of Jacob's majesty”). The office of the gaon was (with one exception) not hereditary, but in th…

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Schlüter, Margarete, “Gaon”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 29 May 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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