Rebellious elder (Heb., zaqen mamre). A stubborn, qualified teacher in Judaism who insists on his own opinion, even though the majority opinion is against him. Such a person, according to Deuteronomy 17. 8–13, must be taken through the whole range of available courts, culminating in whatever is the highest authority, ‘the judge who shall be in those days’. If the teacher persists in his own opinion, he must be executed, because, as the rabbis later put it, he is creating two Torahs (toroth) in Israel, which destroys the raison dʾêtre of Israel. Since Jesus was investigated for a threat to the Temple authority (cf. also Stephen, Acts 6. 13), and since he was eventually taken before the highest judge of the time, it is likely that Jesus was being investigated to see whether he came within the category of zaqen mamre, which would unquestionably have been an offence deserving the death penalty.
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