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Models and Questions

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Chapter Summary

The modern sociological meaning of the word 'sect' has been much more specific and substantial, referring to some kind of a deviant, separatist or segregated group, often with negative connotations. The traditional 'sect' typology in sociology has also been steadily altered and accustomed to new empirical insights since its early start by M. Weber and Troeltsch. The introversionist response, the reformist and perhaps also the revolutionist response are particularly interesting in connection with the study of the Johannine community. Against the criticism of the application of the 'sect' model, Elliott has rightly wanted to re-introduce the 'sect' as an interesting, fruitful characterisation of early Christian groups. R. Stark and Bainbridge define 'sect' as part of an integrated sociological theory of religion with specific definitions such as 'church', 'denomination', and 'cult'.

Keywords: 'sect' model; Christian groups; Elliott; Johannine community

10.1163/9789047415626_003
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