Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2018 Volume 14 :: Article 1
2018 Volume 14, Article 1
The Structure of Jesusís Social Network: Subgroups, Blockmodeling, and Balance

Author: Jennifer M. McClure (Samford University)

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ABSTRACT

Building on a recent article that introduced Jesusís social network, this study uses social network analysis to examine the structure of Jesusís social network in more depth. The analyses investigate the interpersonal connections recorded in the four Gospels of the New Testament, and they focus on three main categories of actors with whom Jesus had ties: his family and followers, the civil and religious authorities, and stigmatized people. This study utilizes three analytical techniques to describe the structure of Jesusís social network: (1) subgroup analysis to identify smaller cohesive communities, (2) blockmodeling analysis to examine different roles and positions, and (3) balance analysis to explore patterns of interpersonal tension. These analyses describe the social dynamics that surrounded Jesusís life and ministry. Key findings highlight how Jesus compassionately integrated many who were marginalized and stigmatized into his social network, how a key source of conflict between Jesus and the other religious leaders involved how to treat stigmatized people, and how interpersonal tensions contributed to but also provided unexpected sources of support during the major crisis in Jesusís life: his betrayal, crucifixion, and burial.

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