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Covenantal sectarianism

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Chapter Summary

Sectarianism is of ancient origin and has probably numerous other reasons for organization and continuance. The sects discussed in this chapter were natural outgrowths of the purity rules when kept very carefully. It is possible that some Jewish groups, like the Essenes and Rule sect, were actually identical; Christian communities, like the sect of St. Matthew and the sect of the Apocalypse, may also have been identical. The differences between the beliefs and practices of these Christian sects and the Pauline Christians show that Christianity, like Judaism, began with divisions. In neither tradition has there ever been one indivisible community of believers. Sectarianism that began in antiquity continued over into NT times where it was there also related to purity laws. With this many sects of the same nature it is possible to note three general sectarian practices, namely: initiation, "love", and excommunication.

Keywords: Apocalypse; Christian communities; Judaism; purity rules; Sectarianism; St. Matthew

10.1163/9789004265967_008
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