A Prince without a Kingdom 978-3-16-150606-2 - Mohr Siebeck
Jewish Studies

Geoffrey Herman

A Prince without a Kingdom

The Exilarch in the Sasanian Era

[Ein Prinz ohne Königreich. Die Exilarchen in der sassanidischen Ära.]

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ISBN 978-3-16-150606-2
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Published in English.
Geoffrey Herman examines the Exilarchal leadership of Babylonian Jewry in the Sasanian Era (224–651 CE). A source-critical and literary-historical study of the primary rabbinic evidence, it also integrates comparative sources from the fields of Iranian and Eastern Christian studies.
The Exilarchs, professed scions of the biblical Davidic royal line, were leaders of the Jews of Babylonia in antiquity. They were said to be powerful political figures and to lead a decadent lifestyle. Their princely trappings and high-handed manner were legend. They were reported to be completely assimilated into Persian culture. Geoffrey Herman examines the evidence, culled mainly from the Talmudic and Geonic literature, subjecting the institution of the Exilarchate to literary-historical and source-critical analysis. In addition, Herman innovatively utilizes comparative sources from the fields of Iranian studies and Persian Christianity to find the truth underlying the accounts of the historical Exilarchs.

Geoffrey Herman Born 1967; 2006 PhD at Hebrew University in Jerusalem; taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, and at Cornell University; Postdocs at Harvard University and at the University of Geneva; fellow at Research Consortium »Dynamics in the History of Religions« at Ruhr University, Bochum; currently lectures in ancient Jewish history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.


The following reviews are known:

In: Theologische Literaturzeitung — 138 (2013), S. 790–792 (Catherine Hezser)