Official Blog of the Bishop of Durham

Judaism as Fissiparous Heteropraxis in the First Century BC

Posted by NT Wrong on September 23, 2008

‘Fissiparous Heteropraxis’ is Matthew Black’s mellifluous description of the ‘sectarian’ nature of Judaism in the first century BC. Nice phrase. I like it (although, less so, his judgment of it as ‘dangerous’).

Here’s the sentence in which it appears:

“The actual situation in Judaism in the first century B.C. appears, in fact, to have been one of a widespread and dangerously proliferating and fissiparous heteropraxis, a kind of baptizing nonconformity, with many splinter groups, extending from Judea to Samaria and beyond into the Diaspara itself.”
– Matthew Black, The Scrolls and Christian Origins: Studies in the Jewish Background of the New Testament. 1961: 8.


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