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Towards A Description Of The Sectarian Matrix

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Chapter Summary

Over the past sixty years, several models have been used in studying the Qumran Scrolls and New Testament. Geza Vermes summarizes them as follows: "Qumran Essenism and Palestinian Christianity can be related in three different ways. They are either identical, the Community being the Church and Jesus the Teacher of Righteousness. Or Christianity is an off-shoot of Essenism. Or Essenism and Christianity both spring from same common stock, the Judaism of that period". This chapter focuses on the third model and discusses how the notion of "same common stock" could be usefully explored. It develops this model by sketching out some of the main elements of sectarian matrix. The model of sectarian matrix has, to its credit, several advantages, not least in constraining the search for literary parallels. It makes it much more difficult to privilege one corpus of writings over another, such as has been done with New Testament.

Keywords: Essenism; Geza Vermes; Judaism; New Testament; Palestinian Christianity; Qumran scrolls; sectarian matrix



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