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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(אב בת דין, i.e. the father or head of the house of judgment, or juridical college) is a term used in the Talmud to denote the vice-president of the Sanhedrim, who sat at the right of the nasi, or president, while at the left sat the chacham, i.e. the wise man. These three persons were called "the ancient," or זקני, also "the judges," or דיני . In the absence of the nasi, the ab-beth-din presided. The other members of the Sanhedrim occupied places according to their rank in the college. At a late period a certain punctilious etiquette prevailed. Thus, when the nasi entered, all the members were expected to rise and remain standing till he had invited them to resume their places. When the ab-beth-din entered, all were expected to rise, but allowed again to sit down without intimation to that effect; while the chacham was only saluted by each individual member rising as he passed, and immediately sitting down again. Only the abbeth-din was initiated into the mysteries of the law (Chagiga, fol. 13 b); and when he died, the lectures in the schools of his place were suspended. (B. P.)

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'ab-Beth-Din'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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