The term theocracy was coined by Flavius Josephus in the 1st century CE to label a political system in which political rule is exercised by the clergy or other religious officials deemed as representatives of God on earth. This entry discusses the meaning of the term theocracy and its presence in various religions, historically and in the present. Theocracies have existed throughout the world at various points in history, not only in the Catholic and Islamic worlds but also in contexts as varied as that of the early Mormons in the United States, under Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and in Tibet from the 13th until the mid-20th centuries. After describing the concept of theocracy in various religions, this entry further explores the meaning of theocracy through the example of the role of the Russian Orthodox Church. It concludes with questions about whether political society in general presupposes some In ...