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Learning From Sectarian Responses: Windows On Qumran Sects And Emerging Christian Sects

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Chapter Summary

One of the most popular sect typologies utilized in both Qumran and New Testament scholarship has been that of the sociologist Bryan R. Wilson. This chapter investigates one aspect of Wilson's work more closely, namely, the responses to evil. The typology was then used as a suggestive but not definitive window on questions and issues concerning the Qumran movement, the Jesus movement, and early Christian groups. Wilson's attempts to create the logically possible alternatives for responses to evil. His purpose is not classifying sects but ideal-typification of sects. If the typology is valid, it suggests one primary response for most existing movements, although some can also be mixed types, and some movements may be not be very clear regarding their response. The differences between these movements, according to the suggested abstractions, could be conceptualized somewhere along the lines of introversionist, revolutionist/ thaumaturgical, and conversionist responses.

Keywords: Bryan R. Wilson; Christian groups; evil; Jesus movement; New Testament; Qumran; sectarian responses



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