This article provides background information about the use of the social sciences and introduces the basic themes and factions in the debate about modeling in the field of biblical and related studies. It argues that some of the controversial issues could be clarified by drawing on the current discussion on modeling in the philosophy of science, especially Uskali Mäki's functional decomposition approach. It also presents a model for analyzing early Jewish and Christian movements at the end of the first century, assessing the model's composition, function and truth-value in the framework of Mäki's approach.

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