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1. government by a deity or by a priesthood
2. a community or political unit under such government


government by a priesthood.



a form of government in which both political power and religious power are centered in the church.

Usually the supreme power in a theocratic state is vested in the leader of the predominant church, so that he is the head of state and is recognized as a “living god,” as “god’s vicar on earth,” or as the “chief priest” (he may be called the pharaoh, caesar, emperor, or caliph). In practical terms, the state’s power is vested in the church hierarchy and in the priests. “God’s will,” as expressed, for example, in the holy scriptures and the sharia, is acknowledged as law, together with the will of the head of state and of the church.

The term “theocracy” first appeared in a work by Flavius Josephus. Examples of theocracies during the era of the slaveholding system were the ancient Eastern despotisms of Egypt, Babylonia, the Judaic kingdom, and the Arab caliphate. In the Middle Ages the theocratic power of the pope was established in the papal domain. In accordance with the political doctrine of Catholicism of that time, the power of a European monarch was considered to be derived from and subordinate to the pope’s supreme power. The material expression of this dependency was the church tithe, a levy exacted in the Catholic countries of Europe. Today, theocratic forms are preserved only as vestiges of the past in underdeveloped countries.

References in periodicals archive ?
Iraq's secular Shi'ite Arabs led by ex-PM Iyad Allawi are opposed to repeated Iranian attempts to control their country, which they insist must remain Arab - rather than adopt the Safawi ideology of Iran's theocracy.
And it enables the editors to point out that the Republican theocracy currently enslaving America distorts information about condoms that could save millions of lives and prevent unwanted pregnancies; prevents young, poor girls from having safe abortions, while not lifting a finger to protect their children once they are born; spends huge sums to keep a braindead zombie on artificial life support; and does almost nothing to save the thousands of children who die of starvation as a direct consequence of the Republicanazi support for the insane taboos of the theofascist Fuhrer in Rome (p.
The war is not a religious war; it is not a war against Islam; it is not a war of theocracy against democracy: it is a war to prevent Osama bin Laden carrying out further barbaric acts.
The beauty of Theocracy is that it is open ended and real-time turn-based, which stops you from drowning in complexity when your empire starts to expand.
In recent years, however, the COR has lost many of its best-known members; former Virginia lieutenant governor candidate Mike Farris, for example, told The Washington Post that he left the group because "it started heading to a theocracy.
In His Le Bourget Speech, Jordanian Senator & Ex-Minister Saleh Al-Qalab Points To IRGC-ISIS Links In Terror Attacks; He Says Iran's Theocracy Is The Source Of All Evil In The Greater Middle East (GME)
The Saudi-led Arabs claim that the Safawi theocracy is "the worst enemy of Islam".
Bahrain's and Saudi Shi'ite activists make no secret that their plan for an "Islamic revolution" in their regions will ultimately lead to a joint theocracy in Iran's orbit.
Their actions and frequent boasts have made the originally secretive theocracy so transparent that no other part of the GME would trust it.