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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


(more generally CALIPH), originally a deputy or lieutenant, but afterwards applied chiefly to the successors of Mohammed. As a representative of the prophet and Islam, the caliph exercised a power which was primarily spiritual, and in theory, therefore, he claimed the obedience of all Mohammedans. In practice the claim was soon disregarded, and the Fatimite caliphs of Africa and the sovereigns of the Ommiad dynasty of Spain each professed to be the only legitimate representatives of Mohammed, in opposition to the Abasside caliphs of Bagdad. The latter caliphat reached its highest. splendor under Haroun al-Raschid, in the 9th century; but his division of the empire among his sons showed how completely the caliph had lost sight of the spiritual theory of his office. For the last two hundred years the appellation of caliph has been swallowed up in shah, sultan, emir. and other titles peculiar to the East. See Brande and Cox, Dictionary of Science, Literature, and Art, i, 350.

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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Kaliph'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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