Chapter

Sectarianism and Heresy: From Qumran Calendars to Christian Easter Controversies

Sacha Stern

in Calendars in Antiquity

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199589449
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191746178 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199589449.003.0008
Sectarianism and Heresy: From Qumran Calendars to Christian Easter Controversies

Show Summary Details

Preview

This chapter considers how calendars were involved in the formation of religious sects and heresies. After clarifying what is meant, in this context, by ‘sectarianism’ and ‘heresy’, the first part deals with calendar sectarianism in ancient Judaism. It criticizes the common view that the ‘Qumran sect’ (associated with the Dead Sea Scrolls) broke off from mainstream Judaean society because of its deviant, 364-day calendar, and that this calendar was therefore ‘sectarian’. The second part deals with early Christianity and the emergence and history of the Easter cycles. In the first centuries, diversity regarding the date of Easter was not regarded as heresy. It is only after Constantine decreed at Nicaea, for the first time, that all Christians should observe Easter on the same date, that calendar cohesion became a social imperative, eventually giving rise, by the late fourth century, to heresies defined by calendar diversity.

Keywords: calendar; sectarianism; heresy; Judaism; Qumran; Christianity; Easter cycles; Nicaea; diversity

Chapter.  38106 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.