The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia
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AB BET DIN ("Father of the court of justice"):

1. Title, according to some scholars, of the judge next in authority to the nasi (prince or president), and who would, accordingly, be vice-president of the Sanhedrin. On the disputed question of the relation of the Ab bet din to the nasi, see Nasi. 2. In recent times, the title of the chief assessor at the rabbinical court.

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