Scripture is powerful for all who lend it authority. Clark-Soles explores the ways in which the author of the Fourth Gospel deploys scripture to form his sectarian community. The first part of the book provides the sociological framework for addressing the role of scripture within sectarian communities. By definition, sects are in conflict with a parent tradition. How, if at all, does a sect appropriate those texts that not only “belong” to the parent tradition but also are used by that parent tradition to deride the sectarians? By investigating the dynamics of scripture in the ancient Qumran community and in the modern Branch Davidian community, Clark-Soles shed light on the community of the Fourth Gospel.
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