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Communal Autonomy and Rabbinic Jurisdiction

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Chapter Summary

Communal autonomy in Metz corresponded to the general pattern of Jewish self-government practiced in Ashkenazic communities in central and eastern Europe. Twice in the next fifteen years, in 1777 and 1784, rabbinic jurisdiction was reconfirmed by Louis XVI, only to be limited once again by the Metz Parlement to those cases in which Jews submitted of their own accord to the authority of the Beit Din. This chapter considers the internal Jewish and communal law; the various sources of French law, which together came to be known as the ius commune. The Metz Beit Din was a judicial body that represented the primary public venue for the resolution of disputes among residents of the greater Metz community. As in the case of the French lower courts, the Beit Din performed bureaucratic functions that included the confirmation of legal documents and contracts, the execution of wills, and the appointment of guardians.

Keywords: Ashkenazic communities; communal autonomy; French law; French lower courts; Jews; Louis XVI; Metz Beit Din; rabbinic jurisdiction



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