Encyclopedia of Christianity Online

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(1,377 words)

1. Term

The term “sect” is a loanword from Lat. secta, sequor, and in the first instance it has the neutral sense of a school, following, party, or teaching, like the Lat. haeresis, a cognate of Gk. hairesis. Derivation from seco (cut, separate, break away) is etymologically incorrect but has led to popular disparagement.

In the NT hairesis is used negatively (1 Cor. 11:18–19; Gal. 5:20; 2 Pet. 2:1) to speak of factions that produce schismata (divisions, schisms) in the church (Heresies and Schisms). As a result, the church through…

Cite this page
Brockwell Jr., Charles W., “Sect”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 23 September 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_S.43>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512

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