Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Professor Louis Greenspan
This thesis places Hebrew Christianity and Messianic Judaism on the church-sect continuum devised by Rodney Stark and William Sims Bainbridge (1979, 1980). According to an axis indicating low to high tension with the environment, Hebrew Christianity is placed on the para-church node, between the denomination and the sect. Messianic Judaism, in general, is placed on the high tension, sect end of the continuum. It is recognized, however, that individual organizations which comprise the movements may vary widely in their relationships to the environment. Since the organizations as well as the movements may oscillate on the church-sect continuum, social movement propositions are introduced that can explain how and under what conditions these changes occur. A study of one Hebrew Christian organization, which contains both a low and a high tension group shows, on the one hand, that a single organization can occupy two different points on the church-sect continuum simultaneously. It shows, on the other hand, that this is made possible through the skillful use of leadership functions, which in turn is buttressed by the symbolic value of a Jewish leader. Finally, the peculiar situation of the HFOI is seen as reflective of the larger trends in the Hebrew Christian and Messianic Jewish movements, in general, and the different "agendas" of the Jewish and the Gentile followers, in particular.
Kohn, Rachael L.E., "Hebrew Christianity and Messianic Judaism on the Church-Sect Continuum" (1985). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1188.