(Gr. schisma). Ecclesiastical term for division in or separation from a church, distinguished from heresy in that the separation involved is not basically doctrinal. It may not entail loss of orders, i.e., schismatic ordination and administration of sacraments are valid. In this technical sense the word first occurs in Irenaeus.* Cyprian* discussed the relation of the church to schism, and he condemned schismatics for endangering men's souls, regarding them as worse than apostates and their baptism as worthless. Augustine* took a similar view, but did not regard schismatic sacraments as invalid. In time obedience to the Roman pontiff became the test of catholicity. Outstanding schisms include the Novatianist* and Donatist* churches, the “Great Schism”* between the Greek and Latin churches (finally established in 1054), the Avignon* schism (1378-1417), and the schism between the and Rome (since 1570).
SCHISM sĭz’ m (σχίσμα, G5388). “Schism” does not appear in the RSV, but the Gr. from which the word is transliterated appears six times in the NT. In Jesus’ parable of sewing an “unshrunk cloth on an old garment” it is tr. “tear” (
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)