In this question the purpose of the Jedi is discussed but no one mentions their true function in society or the way that their order is funded, since they have access to supplies, technology and have temples all around the galaxy, not to mention that they are associated to the Government through the Jedi Council, but are not supposed to interfere in political decisions or to have as much power as the Senate.

I found an interesting analysis that describes the Jedi as an autonomous religious cult to which the Republic outsources its police and military power, much like a mercenary army in our world (or perhaps, like the Sōhei in ancient Japan?). Being mercenaries explains part of their funding and power, but although we see them leading the Clone Army, that is indeed an extraordinary case, as Mace Windu states in Episode II (0:26): We are keepers of the peace not soldiers, similar to Obi Wan's "keepers of peace and justice in the Old Republic" definition. This sounds very much like police, but apart from Obi Wan making detective work to find Jango Fett in Episode II we never see a single Jedi making something analog to what a Police Officer does.

So what are the functions and responsibilities of the Jedi in relation to the life of the average citizen during the 1000 years before Episode I, since there were no Sith Lords (or rival religious groups) to hunt in those times? Did they make religious services and ceremonies like our priests and monks and/or acted like a judiciary branch of the government or were just ordinary law enforcers, much like the Stormtroopers during the Empire?

The Wookieepedia article that says that they pursued wanted and dangerous criminals, pirates, and smugglers goes with the just ordinary law enforcers part and the Jedi organization and population presented in the first three episodes seems too big for that petty job. What I'm asking about is more about their role in the everyday world, as a citizen of Coruscant or any other planet would see them, if they find them on their way.

I expect to find a good answer from the Legends continuity, but I prefer if the answer comes from the official Canon.

  • They remind me of the fbi more then police, called in for serious matters. But I can't think of a good passage, that shows this
    – Pliny
    Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 16:23
  • 3
    "apart from Obi Wan making detective work to find Jango Fett in Episode II we never see a single Jedi making something analog to what a Police Officer does" - in the Clone Wars animated series they actually spend quite a bit of time doing that sort of thing; hunting assassins, gangsters, preventing coups and civil disorder, protecting diplomats and royalty, recovering stolen items.
    – user22478
    Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 17:47
  • @Nathan Can you expand this point and make an answer of it?
    – user102525
    Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 22:41
  • Your question seems to be about events prior to the Clone Wars ("before Episode 1") so I didn't think it was an answer, but I'll try and rephrase it as an answer.
    – user22478
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 0:27

2 Answers 2


The Star Wars Databank says that the Jedi were:

A noble order of protectors unified by their ability to tap into the power of the Force, the Jedi Order were the guardians of peace and justice
Jedi Order

This is expounded on a bit in this article:

The Jedi Knights were a noble order of Force-sensitive protectors—united by their ability to use the Force—who upheld peace and justice in the Galactic Republic for over a thousand generations. As keepers of the peace, the Jedi Order undertook diplomatic missions on behalf of the Galactic Senate, and pursued interplanetary criminals across the galaxy. In contrast to the Sith, the Jedi's historic foes who harnessed the dark side, the Jedi drew their power from the light side of the Force. The Jedi Code, along with a collection of other foundational texts, served as the mantra of the Jedi way of life, governing the behavior of individual Jedi to the philosophy and training regimen of the Order as a whole.
Jedi Order

So to break this down into plain English, they were a group of people with a specific moral code and the power to enforce it. Keeping peace is self-explanatory, but upholding justice is where this diverges into their role with the Galatic Republic.

The Jedi served the Republic for over a thousand generations, acting as peacekeepers.
Jedi Order

As the governing body, The Republic is what created Law. Therefore, it was their Justice that the Jedi upheld. Over time (especially in Legends), the Jedi alternated between being The Republic's military and elite policing force. The simple fact of the matter is that so long as the Jedi subscribed to The Republic's idea of law and order, they were morally obligated to uphold it.

Their role in everyday life would then be whatever needed to be done. This is why you see them doing mundane work like tracking down a bounty hunter, and highly specialized work like being the Generals of the Grand Army of the Republic. Their daily guiding philosophy is similar to the code of chivalry and ethics practiced by the medieval knights of Europe. Things like high standards of courtesy, strict rules for combat, and warrior virtues such as honor, loyalty, and bravery.

  • 1
    The chivalry analogy is excellent.
    – bonzo-lz
    Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 0:05
  • They seem to have much power an interference on political matters forn someone whose "role in everyday life would then be whatever needed to be done" and should at least get part of their founding from the State.
    – user102525
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 17:00
  • The Republic is what created Law. Therefore, it was their Justice that the Jedi upheld. Except that the Jedi served a corrupt Republic run by senators who did not care to make fair laws. scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/129640/…
    – user89104
    Commented Jan 12, 2020 at 23:28

  Jedi were odd mix of special forces and diplomats with religious undertones

First of all , Jedi are not soldiers, i.e. Jedi Order could not engage proper army (like Droid Army) in conventional warfare on their own. They were however tricked into accepting roles of generals in Clone Army, but that's beside the point. However, Jedi could act on critical points, especially against enemy leadership and sensitive equipment. With their force powers Jedi could infiltrate almost anywhere and perform vital tasks that non-Force sensitive police or troops could not. This is the part where they resemble modern special forces.

There is also diplomatic part - Jedi were not afraid to negotiate with various parties, even with very nefarious ones like crime syndicates. Again, their mental powers were enhanced with Force (mind tricks, reading minds, sensing emotions ...) , and if negotiations turn sour they could defend themselves .

As for Jedi funding, I'm not aware of that explicitly being mentioned anywhere in Canon (or in Legends) , but we could assume they were funded similarly to various state religions in the past. I.e. Republic would donate money and property, various systems and corporations would do the same etc ... Although individual Jedi do not have possessions , Order itself could be extremely wealthy, comparable to Catholic Church in our world.

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