"Charisma" is an ancient Greek term that initially gained prominence through Saint Paul's letters to the emerging Christian communities in the first century. In this context, it generally referred to a divinely-originating "gift" that demonstrated the authority of God within the early leaders of the Church. Max Weber took this obscure theological concept and generalized it, viewing it as something that followers attribute, thereby opening it up for use by sociologists who applied it to political, military, celebrity, and non-Christian religious contests. Other terms used are "charismatic domination" and "charismatic leadership".
Weber applies the term charisma to
certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These are such as are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as of divine origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader ... How the quality in question would be ultimately judged from an ethical, aesthetic, or other such point of view is naturally indifferent for the purpose of definition.
Charismatic authority is often the most lasting of regimes because the leader is seen as infallible and any action against him will be seen as a crime against the state. Charismatic leaders eventually develop a cult of personality often not by their own doing.