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Two leading figures in the social-scientific study of the NT declared in the 1980s that the view that early Christianity was a sect within Judaism had become "a commonplace." (1) Since then, a growing number of scholars have adopted this view. Consequently, different groups and communities reflected (whether directly or implicitly) in the NT Gospels and epistles are usually regarded as having departed from Jewish society (but not necessarily from the Jewish religion, that is, the later "parting of the ways") already in the initial phases of early Christianity. In the present article, I will question this claim by showing that the sociological concept "sect" is narrower than many NT scholars realize. I will survey the studies expressing the consensus and discuss the models of sectarianism they employ and the ways they apply them to the NT, in whole or in part. Later on, I will demonstrate the absence of three essential sectarian criteria from many NT texts: social separation, social requirements and sanctions, and a fixed organization or institutionalization.