Religion Past and Present

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(1,285 words)

[German Version]

I. Terminology

The Hebrew title רַבִּי/rabbî is derived from the nominalized adjective רַב/rab, “great, of high rank,” which in postbiblical Hebrew took on the meaning “master” (Rav) in contrast to a slave or student/disciple (m. Sukk. 2:9; m. Giṭ. 4:4; m. ʾAbot 1:3). The honorific rabbi (“my master/teacher”) became a title, associated with the names of Palestinian men of learning (e.g. Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph), while Rav was used for Babylonian rabbis. Rabbi is also found as a name for Judah h…

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Jacobs, Martin, Wilke, Carsten and Schaller, Berndt, “Rabbi”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 27 June 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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