Limits and possibilities of the implementation of concepts of sect, church and cult in the academic study of religion
Source document: Religio. 2005, vol. 13, iss. 1, pp. -56
ISSN1210-3640 (print)2336-4475 (online)
License: Not specified license
In this article the author concerns with a problematic implementation of such concepts as sect, church and cult in the academic study of religion. The first part is focused on the analysis of classical approaches that are associated with Max Weber, Ernst Troeltsch and Richard Niebuhr. The author studies main theoretical basis of these conceptions – methodological hypothesis of ideal type (Weber), role of religious behavior (Troeltsch) and phenomenon of development (Niebuhr). -- The second part deals with innovative interpretations of concepts of sect, church and cult, which emerged during the second half of the 20th century. Main attention is pursued to the conceptions of Milton Yinger, Rodney Stark, William Bainbridge and Bryan Wilson. The author analyzes especially the idea of social tension that is very important trait of these innovative interpretations. -- In the third part the author suggests critical reflection of the implementation of concepts of sect, church and cult in the academic study of religion. He refers to the theological origin of these concepts which manifests itself in the interpretation of sect as a destructive religious group with charismatic and authoritarian leader. He also suggests that notion as sect (or cult) is culturally determined and it is not possible to implement it to non-Christian contexts.