Roman Law: Expelled Jewish Leaders Can't be Forced Back on Community

Roman Law: Expelled Jewish Leaders Can't be Forced Back on Community

Theodosius I
Source: Erine

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Emperors Valentinian I, Arcadius, and Theodosius I issue a new law stating that Jewish leaders who have been expelled by their community cannot be forced back on the community by secular judges.

According to this law:

"Jews are filing complaints and alleging that people they have cast out according to their own rules are being returned to their positions by judges and despite protests.

We command that this outrage cease completely. No group belonging to the Jewish superstition shall any undeserved reconciliation imposed, whether by secular judges or by getting a secret order against the wishes of their leaders who have the right to pronounce sentence regarding their own religion" [CTh 16.8.8]

This law recognizes that Jews have certain rights and authority over their own communities, rights which even the secular Roman judges should not interfere with. It's an early form of separating church and state, accommodating the religious practices of a minority group.


Emperors of Rome: Valentinian I

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