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January 2022

Redefining the 'church and sect' typology

Journal/Book: Aust N Z J Sociol. 1996; 32: 95 Coventry St, S Melbourne 3205, Australia. Longman Australia. 38-49.

Abstract: Religious groups differ specifically; they also change over time, disintegrating and sometimes refinding their stability. The typology that has been used to describe this phenomenon has been the 'church and sect' typology. I argue that this typology and the criteria used to identify the constituent types are too static to be useful for the scholar studying a vibrant and developing religious tradition. However, sociologists of science have elaborated models to explain a similar situation in regard to scientific communities. The application of such theoretical work to the sociology of religion, with attention to the theory of tradition that undergirds ii, allows a more dynamic description of religious group activity. A case study of early Christianity is used as an exemplar.

Note: Article Crotty R, Univ S Australia, Underdale Campus, Adelaide, SA 5001, AUSTRALIA

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