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Religion and Politics

by David Joshua Malkiel
Religion and Politics 205 VI. Summary The statute on rabbinical authority does not signify heterodoxy on the part of the Venetian Jewish community, nor should the advent of the modern period be read into this legislative event. R. Leone Modenas version of the incident has now been balanced by other accounts. It has also been shown that there was a traditional basis for lay involvement in rabbinic affairs, and that rabbis shared the Small Assemblys concern regarding the abuse of rabbinic titles and authority. Finally, the specific historical context of the 1616 incident has been uncovered. The Small Assemblys 1616 statute on rabbinic ordination and authority was part of a broad effort to expand the authority of the Small Assembly over the community. This was a significant change, because Venices pan- ethnic Jewish political body started out as a loose federation of autonomous ethnic communities, with the modest purpose of coordinating tax- collection and representation vis- à- vis the Venetian government. In 1616 the Small Assembly scooped up political power in areas under no previous centralized control, reserving for itself the right to operate or intervene in almost any realm of public life and conduct. failing, to rally the support of all the rabbis of Venice. See Igrot, pp. 250- 1. Boksenboim dates it in the spring of 1639, because of its position in the manuscript upon which his edition is based. In a much later development, the Small Assembly of 1666 took steps similar to those under discussion here. See  Min- Haleviyyim, Medaber, pp. 92- 99. See also Katz, Masoret, p. 121.   Chapter Home  | TOC  | Index t

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Religion and Politics 205 VI. Summary The statute on rabbinical authority does not signify heterodoxy on the part of the Venetian Jewish community, nor should the advent of the modern period be read into this legislative event. R. Leone Modena's version of the incident has now been balanced by other accounts. It has also been shown that there was a traditional basis for lay involvement in rabbinic affairs, and that rabbis shared the Small Assembly's concern regarding the abuse of rabbinic titles and authority. Finally, the specific historical context of the 1616 incident has been uncovered. The Small Assembly's 1616 statute on rabbinic ordination and authority was part of a broad effort to expand the authority of the Small Assembly over the community. This was a significant change, because Venice's pan- ethnic Jewish political body started out as a loose federation of autonomous ethnic communities, with the modest purpose of coordinating tax- collection and representation vis- à- vis the Venetian government. In 1616 the Small Assembly scooped up political power in areas under no previous centralized control, reserving for itself the right to operate or intervene in almost any realm of public life and conduct. failing, to rally the support of all the rabbis of Venice. See Igrot, pp. 250- 1. Boksenboim dates it in the spring of 1639, because of its position in the manuscript upon which his edition is based. In a much later development, the Small Assembly of 1666 took steps similar to those under discussion here. See Min- Haleviyyim, Medaber, pp. 92- 99. See also Katz, Masoret, p. 121. << Chapter >> Home | TOC | Index t
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