We'll receive a $25,000 grant if others match it by Pentecost. $24,070 to go. Your gift will be doubled!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

SANHEDRIN

The highest Jewish court, which functioned from the third or fouth century B.C., until the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. For several centuries earlier there were courts or councils in existence, but it was impossible to learn when a recognizable Sanhedrin took specific form. Josephus, the Jewish historian, was the first writer to name it specifically as functioning in the reign of Antiochus the Great. It was composed of seventy-one members, chosen from three classes of Jews--the elders of the chief families, the high priests, and the scribes, who were mostly lawyers from the Pharisee sect. The Sadducees were always well represented. The jurisdiction of the Sanhedrin was limited to Judaea, a fact that prevented the court from taking action against Jesus while he was preaching in Galilee. The Sanhedrin met in the Jerusalem Temple area. Any Jew could appear before it to seek clarification of the complexities of the Mosaic law. The court had the right to mete out punishment to law violators (Matthew 26:47-50; Mark 14:43-46), even to the extent of capital punishment (Mark 14:64; John 11:53). But, as it happened in the case of Jesus' Crucifixion, it had to secure the approval of the Roman procurator before such a sentence could be executed (Mark 15:1). Guilt for his unjust condemnation rested partly on the fanatical element in the Sanhedrin (John 18:31) and partly on the cynical Roman official willing to appease a turbulent local group (Mark 15:15). Persecution by the Sanhedrin did not end with Jesus' death. It continued after Pentecost, as int he case of Peter, John, Paul, and Stephen (Acts 4:3, 5:17-18, 5:33, 7:57-58, 23:1-10). (Etym. Greek synedrion, council, a sitting together.)

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Matching Campaign
Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

A silent scandal: Catholic schools promoting morally unacceptable vaccines 4 hours ago
A More Militant Church? 5 hours ago
How we'll know if the Vatican and the US hierarchy are serious about deposing negligent bishops 5 hours ago
Final take on the LCWR: A time to plant, a time to uproot 8 hours ago
With the LCWR, has the Vatican taken Gamaliel's advice? 11 hours ago

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope challenges world leaders' silence on persecution of Christians CWN - April 6
Pope outlines plans for the extraordinary jubilee of mercy CWN - April 13
Vatican completes doctrinal assessment of Leadership Conference of Women Religious CWN - April 16
Pope accepts resignation of Bishop Finn CWN - April 21