Vigiliae Christianae 29 (1975), 33-54; © Brill Academic Publishers


TERTULLIANISTS AND CATAPHRYGIANS

BY

DOUGLAS POWELL

In Aduersus Praxean 1, Tertullian tells us how a bishop of Rome changed his mind about the new prophetic movement in the churches of Asia and Phrygia, and refused to recognise their charismata. As a consequence, nos quidem postea agnitio Paracleti atque defensto disiunxit a psychicis.1 The general opinion of the nature of this disiunctio was expressed by Duchesne:2 “it was necessary to choose between communion with the Church and belief in the new prophesying.” If such a formal schism existed, then we must suppose the ecclesia spiritus and the ecclesia numerus episcoporum3 to have been two separate institutions, each with its bishops, clergy and gatherings for worship, as in the case of the almost contemporary Theodotian heresy at Rome.4

Such a thesis is difficult to reconcile with Tertullian’s language. Let us consider his denunciation of the episcopal edict on penance:

O edictum cui adscribi non poterit bonum factum. Et ubi proponetur liberalitas ista? Ibidem, opinor, in ipsis libidinum ianuis, sub ipsis libidinum titulis... Sec hoc in ecclesia legitur, et in ecclesia pronuntiatur, et uirgo est. Absit, absit a sponsa Christi tale praeconium.5

The edict was undoubtedly read in the ecclesia numerus episcoporum; but how could she be still uirgo and sponsa Christi to a formally schismatic Tertullian, who had disjoined himself not only from the psychics, but from the Church which they had shamed and disfigured?

It could be replied that Tertullian had a notable gift of irony, and that what he means is “in a Church which you still insist is uirgo and sponsa Christi, though of course she has now ceased to be anything of the sort”. We must then interpret on the same lines De monogamia 11,2, where even |p34 psychic digamists (including presumably ille uester Utinensis) are married in a virgin Church — et coniungent uos in ecclesia uirgine, unius Christi unica sponsa. It would still be noteworthy that though twice the ecclesia numerus episcoporum is uirgo et sponsa Christi, nowhere in his writings does he drop the supposed irony and tell her bluntly that she is nothing of the sort. To explain all in terms of Tertullian’s irony is even more difficult when we examine his use of frater in De exhortatione castitatis. Against the digamist claim that second marriage is for mutual society, help and comfort, and not for procreation, he argues that man proposes, God (or nature) disposes, and quotes a case in point:

Scimus denique quendam ex fratribus, cum propter filiam suam secundo matrimonio sterilem captasset uxorem, tam iterum patrem factum quam et iterum maritum.6

This digamist can hardly have been a schismatic Montanist, yet he is quidam ex fratribus. Indeed, the whole argument of this tract, designed to warn against digamy a frater whose wife has died, implies that both author and recipient belong to one institution, in which (despite irregular digamist bishops) clerical monogamia is the recognised rule, and lay monogamia a discipline of the New Prophecy which any can accept without a change of ecclesiastical allegiance. The case seems even clearer in De uirginibus uelandis. He admits7 that until recently both the veiling and the non-veiling of unmarried girls were customs allowable apud nos. The New Prophecy has revealed that Truth which over-rides custom, and has backed it with a vision settling even the length of veils. The psychics disdain not only the New Prophecy, but even that law written by nature on the hearts of the heathen, and thus

A nobis nec naturalia observantur, quasi alius sit Deus naturae quam noster.8

When he turns to those to whom the rule will apply (most of them still within the power of the family), there is no suggestion that they must leave the Episcopal Church in which they have grown up, and join a Church of the Montanists. Veiled, they will belong to the same institution and go on Sundays to the same assembly-place as unveiled, though listening to the prophetic Spirit rather than to bishops adjudicating on customs:

Superest etiam ut ad ipsas conuertamur, quo libentius ista suscipiant. Oro te, siue mater siue soror siue filia uirgo, secundum annorum nomina dixerim, uela caput.9

Is it possible that these three tracts predate both the disiunctio of Adu. |p35 Praxean and the ecclesiae of De pudicitia, and refer to conditions before a crisis of formal schism? The chronological arrangement of Tertullian’s writings is indeed a matter of considerable dispute — and this is itself not without significance: a formal schism should have left unambiguous traces in polemical writings which deal with the very matters at issue. There is, however, a consideration which seems weighty enough to decide the immediate question: the role of the Paraclete in discipline. How could Tertullian have drawn his distinction between disciplina and potestas in the way he does in De pudicitia,10 had he already formulated his belief in the New Prophecy as not only totius sacramenti praedicatio11 but also noua disciplina and Paracleti administratio ?12 .

To posit a formal schism, we should have to ask: In which Church was the penitential edict read? In the ecclesia spiritus? God forbid. In the ecclesia numerus episcoporum? Then she is no longer uirgo, but the very image of ipsae libidinum ianuae. Is it not more reasonable to suppose that the question never occurred to Tertullian, that the edict was read simply in ecclesia? The ecclesia spiritus and the ecclesia numerus episcoporum are not then two opposed institutions, but one institution interpreted according to two divergent conceptions of authority (a position familiar enough to any Anglican). Quid nunc et ad ecclesiam, et quidem tuam, psychice13 need mean no more than “the power given to Peter was a personal gift, and has nothing to do with the Church, certainly not with the Church as you conceive it; if with the Church at all, then with the Spirit in the Church, not with the bishops”.14

Similarly, digami praesident apud uos15 need mean no more than that |p36 Montanists will have nothing to do with the (exceptional) digamist bishop. It is true that in De pudicitia 10,12, where the Shepherd of Hermas has been put inter apocrypha et falsa ab omni concilio ecclesiarum, etiam uestrarum, we might have expected nostrorum = African; but the councils were presumably episcopal ones, and the African bishops were to Tertullian psychics. There may perhaps have been some of them who looked kindly on the New Prophecy: Old Testament warnings are given et populo et episcopis, etiam spiritalibus.16 The last phrase can hardly be Tertullian’s sole reference to a schismatic Montanist episcopate; though it may of course be simply a gibe at bishops who claim a spiritual power.

The Roman decision, as reported by Tertullian, involved no general anathema on the New Prophecy, simply a refusal to recognise the charismata; the withdrawn letters of peace concerned only the churches of Asia and Phrygia. But was a formal anathema subsequently pronounced?

Nouitatem igitur obiectant, de cuius inlicito praescribant aut haeresim iudicandum, si humana praesumptio est, aut pseudoprophetiam pronuntiandam, si spiritalis indictio est, dum quaque ex parte anathema audiamus, qui aliter adnuntiamus.17

It is not inconceivable that the Church of Africa could have offered the Almighty this choice between two alternative charges; nor impossible that some African bishops had condemned the New Prophecy on the one count, others on the other. Nevertheless, this aut ... aut phraseology suggests a popular accusation rather than an official ecclesiastical sentence. If there is no unambiguous statement of the excommunication of the Tertullianists by the Church, no more is there one of excommunication of the Church by the Tertullianists. Tertullian says indeed Quae igitur hic duritia nostra, si non facientibus uoluntatem Dei renuntiamus?18 The English translators rendered this as “renounce communion with”; but Tertullian continues Quae haeresis, si secundas nuptias ut illicitas iuxta adulterium iudicamus? and the context is Deut. 30,15:19 so that the more probable interpretation is “renounce the majority opinion of those weaker brethren who know not how to choose the good and refuse the evil — no heresy in this”. Mutual accusations of heresy undoubtedly formed part of the repudiation of the former societas sententiae;20 but there is no hint  |p37 that this involved also a repudiation of the communio sanctorum and a denial that the psychics were in the true Church at all.

This does not mean that the Montanists remained a collection of disgruntled individuals, bound together only by community of spirit. De anima21 refers to group meetings, probably before the Roman judgement:

Est hodie soror apud nos reuelationum charismata sortita, quas in ecclesia inter dominica sollemnia per ecstasin in spiritu patitur... Post transacta sollemnia dismissa plebe, quo usu solet nobis renuntiare quae uiderit...

Such group meetings presumably continued. After the rejection of the New Discipline as a normative rule for the African Church, it would have been easy, perhaps inevitable, for such a Holy Club to have adopted as a body voluntary submission to the Discipline, until such time as there was a further reform of the African Church according to the prophetic Word of God. On such lines could be interpreted nos infamantes Paracletum disciplinae enormitate digamos foris sistimus.22 It is possible that there were open-air gatherings. The Greek concilia to which Tertullian refers with admiration were hardly deliberative councils of bishops in the Cyprianic sense.23 They are rather devotional gatherings, probably in the open air, additional to the normal liturgical worship, and akin rather to the ‘retreats’ of the early Priscillianists before Epiphany and in Lent, to the memorial-feasts of the martyrs (especially that “open-air assemblage of the Church” described by Gregory of Nyssa in the epistle to Flavian), and perhaps to the Puritan prophesyings in Elizabethan England. There is no evidence that in this form they were introduced into Africa, but the example was there. 

All this is a question of what Tertullian’s language could mean, depending upon one’s assumptions as to the Sitz im Leben. To ask what it must mean, is to ask for some clear and unambiguous statement of the situation, and that Tertullian does not provide. Nowhere does he refer to Montanist bishops, nowhere does he deny that the African bishops were genuinely bishops, nowhere does he say that the ecclesia numerus episcoporum is no true Church, that the unius Christi unica sponsa is to be found only with those who accept the New Prophecy. Nowhere does he say that |p38 Montanists have been cast out, driven from the Churches, condemned by the definitive sentence of bishops; that they refuse the catholic eucharist and refuse to meet with psychici in common assembly. Lightfoot said of Hippolytus and his disiunctio from Callistus “His very vagueness is the refutation to the solution of a rival papacy”;24 we may similarly say of Tertullian that his very ambiguity is the refutation of any theory of a formal schism from the African Church.

There is an equally significant silence from elsewhere. What we find in the Passio Perpetuae is no more than evidence for two factions within the African Church.25 Cyprian’s regard for Tertullian is witnessed not only by Jerome on good authority,26 but by an examination of Cyprian’s own works. De Labriolle qualified this with a much-repeated observation:

St Cyprian has indeed well-studied Tertullian. He follows him closely in many of his treatises. But not a single time does he name him.27

This would be significant did Cyprian ever name, quote or refer directly to any writer at all. Since he does not, the omission of even Tertullian’s name is evidence for nothing but Cyprian’s didactic style, and we are left to ask whether Cyprian could have regarded Tertullian as his master if Tertullian had been a notorious schismatic. Since no ancient writer was more definite (if not indeed fanatical) on this subject of schism than Cyprian, the question must surely be answered in the negative. Therefore, although in the time of Augustine the Tertullianists certainly formed a schismatic sect with its own church-buildings,28 we have no real evidence as to when the formal schism occurred.

Originally, we would suggest, the Tertullianistae formed, not a schismatic body, but an ecclesiola in ecclesia — not, indeed, content to be such, but prepared to be such while they strove still to secure the official recognition of that New Prophecy which they themselves obeyed. There |p39 are plentiful analogies in ecclesiastical history — the Gemeinschaften set up by Bucer in Strasburg after the council had refused the new discipline of Von der wahren Seelsorge; the Puritan classes when the Elizabethan Church of England refused to receive the presbyterian discipline; perhaps also the early Methodist societies. But we need not jump thirteen hundred years to find an analogy. In the days when Leontius was the only bishop of Antioch, Diodore and Flavian were in a position not very different from that which we have supposed for Tertullian: accepting a newly-defined trinitarian orthodoxy despite episcopal non-recognition, not separating themselves from the Great Church, but gathering their supporters for additional devotions in the cemeteries. The Novatianist schism had indeed dissolved the Cyprianic glue of the bishops: but one could still refrain from forming a Little Church so long as bishop was not set up against bishop, and so long as non-recognition did not advance to condemnation. In the 360s, however, the world groaned to find itself involuntarily Arian, the reaction produced a new rigorism against all deviationist groups, and the army of heresy-hunters was led into battle by Epiphanius of Salamis.29 We ought not to read this situation back into the early third century. Callistus did not recognise or accept the Logos-theology of Hippolytus, but there is no suggestion that he ever excommunicated him; and I have argued elsewhere that there is no evidence that Hippolytus ever excommunicated himself.30

To all this, however, there is the obvious rejoinder that Montanism did not have to wait for Epiphanius — it appears already in the lists of the 3rd century heresiologists, Hippolytus and Pseudo-Tertullian. To this point we must now direct our attention.

Hippolytus31 deals with the matter after a chapter on Quartodecimans, whose classification as heretics was doubted at least by Irenaeus. His specific objections are three-fold: “regulations concerning novel and strange fasts”; “they magnify these wretched women (Priscilla and Maximilla) above the apostles and every charisma, so that some of them presume to assert that there is in them something superior to Christ”; and |p40 the fact that some of them are Noetian. Of these accusations, only the first could apply to Tertullian.

Pseudo-Tertullian improves upon Hippolytus. The Noetians are the ‘Kata Aeschinem’, who must be distinguished from the ‘Secundum Phrygas’. What they have in common is that

in apostolis quidem dicant spiritum sanctum fuisse, paracletum non fuisse, et dicant paracletum plum in Montano dixisse quam Christum in euangelium protulisse, nec tantum plum, sed etiam meliora et maiora.32

These specific accusations of theological error, however, cannot apply to the earliest stages of the movement. Neither the Anonymous writer nor Apollonius make any such accusation, and Schepelern has emphasized the significance of this:33

Keiner von ihnen erhebt die Beschuldigung gegen sie, die in den Augen ihrer Zeit­genossen der beste Beweis für den dämonischen Charakter ihrer Inspiration gewesen ware: die Beschuldigung wegen Ketzerei. Und was mehr ist: wir können ruhig davon ausgehen, dass auch die verlorenen Parteien der zwei antimontanistischen Schriften so das nicht besprochen haben; Eusebius wurde in dem Fall nicht unterlassen haben, es zu erwähnen.

Similarly, he holds that the distinction between a Holy Spirit and a Paraclete is not part of the original Montanism: the original wording of the Trinitarian formula in oracle 1 must have been ‘Holy Spirit’, not ‘Paraclete’,34 Tertullian neither distinguished between a Holy Spirit given to the apostles and a Paraclete given to Montanus, nor denies that the Holy Spirit was a plenary gift to the apostles.35 His argument is quite different:

Nihil novi Paracletus inducit.36
Hac lege fidei manente cetera iam disciplinae et conversationis admittunt novitatem correctionis.37
Paracletum restitutorem potius sentias eius, quam institutorem.38

We should note also that the term ‘Montanism’ does not appear before the 4th century.39 The movement called itself ‘The New Prophecy’, and its opponents referred to it as oi9 kata_ fru&gaj. Hippolytus takes this to the |p41 length of suggesting that all its members were Phrygian by race;40 if he knew of Tertullianists in Africa, he cannot have classed them as Cataphrygians.

We must resist, therefore, the temptation to suppose that anything which was at any time alleged against ‘Montanism’ can be predicated of the New Prophecy as it was taught by the great prophetic trio, Montanus, Priscilla and Maximilla. Of every piece of information we must ask more carefully “where, when and by whom?”, even if thereby we see disappearing, one after another, the more popular criteria for distinguishing Montanism from non-Montanism.41 If this is done, then two conclusions seem to me to emerge: first, that Tertullian knew nothing of ‘Montanism’, but only the original New Prophecy, and from this his departures were minimal; secondly, that the development of the New Prophecy into ‘Montanism’ was a Phrygian phenomenon without any known repercussions in the West, and that the key to this transformation is not the grow­ing influence of the Cybele-cult, but a radical shift from the quite orthodox eschatology of the New Prophecy.

II

For the original appearance of the New Prophecy in Phrygia, Eusebius’ date of 172 is clearly to be preferred, and Epiphanius’ date of 156—7 can be disregarded.42 This is the period of the original Montanist trio,  |p42 Montanus, Priscilla and Maximilla. When the Anonymous was writing, the last of the trio, Maximilla, had died thirteen years before,43 and since then there had been no prophet in the party.44 The most likely dating for these thirteen years is the reign of Commodus, 180—192; which would imply that the Anonymous was writing in 192, and that Maximilla died in 179.

According to Eusebius, Apollonius wrote on Montanism in the fortieth year after Montanus began prophesying, that is, according to the Eusebian dating, c.212. Much of his attack clearly covers the first period of Montanism, but he also speaks of seeing the prophetess possessed of gold and silver and costly apparel. Does this imply a second period of the movement, the revival of the prophetic gift after a silence? Two other interpretations are possible, though they have not commended themselves to many: first, that we are wrong about the thirteen years, that when Apollonius wrote Priscilla was still alive, and that we have been misled by the Eusebian order into, assuming the priority of the Anonymous; secondly, the thesis of de Labriolle that the prophetess belonged to the past, and that Apollonius is simply engaged in vivid reporting. Neither of these are in themselves very plausible,45 while there is the great objection that if half the allegations of Apollonius are true, then the Montanism he was describing was far from ascetic. The Anonymous says nothing (at any rate in the extracts given by Eusebius) of these charges of riotous and |p43 luxurious living, and Tertullian in his extant works appears to be unaware of them, and unaware of any necessity to refute them, any need to deny that Priscilla and Maximilla dyed their hair and painted their eye­lids. Though the matter falls short of conclusive demonstration, it is highly probable that Apollonius is describing a revival of prophecy after a period of silence, and a revival on a lower plane. It is certainly inadmissible to assume that his charges refer to the original period of Montanism.

There is, moreover, in Eusebius no trace of the further extravaganoes listed by Epiphanius and Jerome. Since it is too much to suppose that Eusebius would have foregone altogether such tit-bits had he found them in his sources, we must assume that neither the Anonymous nor Apollonius knew of all this, and that it belongs to a third and later stage.

We must go further than this. W. Schneemelcher has pointed out46 that “specifically apocalyptic notions do not appear in the forefront of the Sayings”, and finds only two that are relevant. Only one of these can with certainty be attributed to the original Trio, and that must have come at the very end of their prophetic career; Saying 12, from Maximilla: “After me there will be no more prophets, but the sunte/leia." None of the sayings attributed to Montanus, and none of those attributed by Tertullian to Priscilla contain any hint of the imminent parousia; while Saying 847 in retailing the alternatives to martyrdom leaves no room for a remaining alive until the Coming of the Lord. We must therefore ask whether the New Prophecy, in its original form, did more than share general late 2nd. century beliefs concerning the eventual descent of the New Jesusalem at a parousia expected but not imminent, for which martyrdom provided the antecedent tribulation; and that the imminent parousia appears only at the very end of the first stage of the movement, when the failure of the prophetic succession raised questions as to what was to happen now. Once stated, it raised a problem for later devotees when the expected parousia did not materialise.

The second Saying, 11, occurs in a chapter48 devoted by Epiphanius to the Quintilliani, Pepuziani, Priscilliani or Artoturitai, whom he clearly  |p44 regards as a subdivision of the Cataphrygians to whom he had devoted the previous chapter. He himself is not sure whether the vision came to Priscilla or to an otherwise unknown prophetess named Quintilla.49 We can advance the following reasons for preferring Quintilla:

    a) There is point in giving added weight to the vision of a later prophetess by attributing it to one of the founders of the movement, but none in reversing the process.

    b) Apollonius’ relates that Montanus “named Pepuza and Tymion (small towns in Phrygia) Jerusalem, in his desire to gather to them people from all quarters”.50 He can hardly have expected the New Jerusalem to come down in the Last Days on two towns at once, while, if Apollonius had mentioned the New Jerusalem, that ardent anti-Chiliast, Eusebius, would surely have seized on it, especially in H.E. 5,18,14. Weizsächer was surely right,51 that these two towns were named not in the context of the heavenly Jerusalem, but rather in that of the Jerusalem of Acts — the re-creation of the highly organised but Spirit-directed primitive Church. 

    c) Tertullian shared with most of his Catholic contemporaries a belief in the eschatological descent of the New Jerusalem, confirmed by “the word of the new prophecy”; but this will be in Judaea, and he knows nothing of Pepuza.52 The same association of Jerusalem with Judaea and not Pepuza is found in the ecstatic prophetess mentioned by Firmilian of Caesarea.53 For this reason de Labriolle refused to regard this prophetess as Montanist (thus assuming that the Saying in question provided a norm and a criterion for Montanism in general). But there are clearly two other possibilities: that the Saying was never accepted by more than one sub­section of Montanists, or that it dates later than A.D. 256. In either case, it cannot have come from one of the original founders of the movement. |p45 

These general arguments are confirmed by a more detailed examination of the Saying. It is given in oratio obliqua, which is in itself significant. Schepelern has rightly pointed out that whereas the oracles attributed to the great Trio were regarded as authoritative pronouncements, and appeared usually in the ‘I-form’ (the prophet giving tongue as the direct voice of God), visions and revelations attributed to other inspired persons (for example, the young woman of De anima 9) were submitted to a “testing of the spirits”.54 The fact, therefore, that this particular Saying is the only named saying which reports a vision in oratio obliqua in itself casts doubts upon its attribution to one of the Trio.

But a further accidental result is that the crucial passage is framed in ambiguous accusatives and infinitives:

e0n i0dea, fhsi\, gunaiko_j e0sxhmatisme/noj e0n stolh~| lampra~| h]lqe pro&j me Xristo&j, kai\ e0ne/balen e0n e0moi\ th_n sofi/an, kai\ a0peka&luye/ moi toutoni\ to_n to&pon ei]nai a3gion, kai\ w[de th_n 9Ierousalh_m e0k tou~ ou0ranou~ katie/nai.

‘There’ Schneemelcher translated “dass dieser Ort heilig sei und Jerusalem aus dem Himmel hierher herabkommen werde”;55 but H.B. Swete “that this place is holy, and that here Jerusalem comes down from heaven”.56 There is no grammatical reason for distinction between these two present infinitives — “is holy ... will come down”. We distinguish only because we know Montanus already to have reckoned Pepuza holy, and the second century in general to have expected a future descent of the heavenly Jerusalem. But it is not impossible that the Quintillianists, having changed the site of such a descent, changed also the time. Did they expect at Pepuza some future descent? Or did they, on the contrary, believe that since Pepuza, and indeed Tymion as well,57 were already Jerusalem, they constituted a kind of Montanist Bethel, and the heavenly Jerusalem was already present to those whose eyes were opened. De Labriolle explained Eus. H.E. 5,18,2 by suggesting that the expected descent on Pepuza led to its being named Jerusalem: the opposite is more probable — that its |p46 being named Jerusalem led to the expectation of descent. If we adopt the Swete translation, then we have an eschatology radically different from the apocalyptic futurism usually ascribed to the Montanists — an eschatology largely realised in a present spiritual experience for the more visionary Elect.

The possibility is shocking, but it should be examined. In this vision Christ appears in the very strange form of a woman clothed in a bright robe. Schepelern58 dealt with this by invoking the sacred marriage; how can this be, when Christ comes as a woman to a woman? Since there is no obvious borrowing from the cult of Cybele, we must ask whether the original significance was not the appearance of Christ as the Church Above, the ‘woman clothed with the sun’ of Rev. 12, the gunh_ presbu~tij of Hermas’ first vision:59 in other words, Jerusalem above even now coming down in the Spirit? The seven lamp-bearing virgins who prophesy and move the congregation to repentance, and who must surely owe something to the five wise virgins of Matt. 25, may merely be acting out a parable of preparation for an imminent parousia; but since prophetesses are now those who have slept where Quintilla slept and have seen her vision,60 they could also be a Montanist Elect, enwisdomed virgins who are even now going into the marriage-feast. If as has been conjectured, they are numbered seven to accord with the seven spirits before the throne and the seven candlesticks of Rev. 1, this interpretation would be strengthened.

Should we not examine also the riot of ritual and liturgical innovation, unmentioned by the Anonymous and Apollonius, still less by Tertullian? Neander in 1827 began the popular custom of finding the root of Montanist extravagances in the Phrygian cult of Cybele. Later historians have conducted a continuous retreat from his position. Harnack, Bonwetsch and de Labriolle in succession reduced the role of the Phrygian influence, |p47 and finally Schepelern, in a massive study of all the available material, has removed the cult of Cybele from any connection with the origins and early development of the movement:

Aus einem Erdboden getränkt vom Blut — nicht dem der rasenden Verschnittenen des Kybelekultes, sondern dem christlicher Märtyrer spross der Montanismus empor. Und in einer Atmosphäre gesättigt, nicht mit phrygischen Mysterienideen, sondern mit den apokalyptischen Vorstellungen des Judentums und des Christentums ist er emporgewachsen.61

The more highly-coloured accusations of the heresiologists — particularly the child pierced with needles and its blood mingled with the offerings62 he regarded as simply a particular example of the general attempt to shift to so-called Christians the wide-spread accusations of child-sacrifice made against all Christians. He was nevertheless prepared to allow a limited Cybele-influence on some of the later developments, and saw in the seven virgins of Epiphanius 49,2 a certain congruity with the maidens who wept over the fate of Attis at the Phrygian spring festival.63 But this rested on the assumption that the Montanist virgins were lamenting the sufferings and death of Christ — of which there is no trace in Epiphanius. What they were lamenting was the life of men, and their sins, for the stirring of their hearers to repentance. Again, the offerings of bread and cheese he assumes to have been originally offerings to Cybele, though evidence for any special connection of cheese with Cybele is lacking. In Passio Perpetuae 4, Perpetua accepts cheese from the white-haired Shepherd: but this is in the first vision, and is not on earth but in heaven. It is no doubt conceivable that this represents the sublimation of a Phrygian custom already transported to Africa: but de Labriolle thought it perfectly natural: “Le Christ s’est montré a Perpetua sous forme d’un Pasteur ... Quoi d’étonnant a ce qu’il l’ait réconfortée du lait de ces brebis, ou du fromage fait avec ce lait?”64 He supposed no connection between the vision and the custom: but why should not the vision in fact have been the origin of the custom — what is seen to have happened in heaven brought down and sacramentalised upon earth? In this same vision of Perpetua there is a clear reminiscence of Eve, to whom the Quintillianists give a particular place.65 I have spoken of the possibility of Pepuza as a Montanist Bethel: |p48 the reference to Genesis 28 is clearly there in the first vision of Perpetua, uideo scalam aeream mirae magnitudinis pertingenteni usque ad caelum. The female bishops and presbyters of this chapter of Epiphanius are justified by appeal to Gal. 3, 28: however natural this application of the text may seem to some 20th century Christians, there is no patristic parallel for such a use: both to Paul and the early Church it would more probably have appeared as an unwarranted anticipation of the eschaton.66

We may sum this up in two points: first, apparent connections between later Montanist ritual and the Cybele cult dissolve on examination; secondly, the real connections are between the later ritual and the earlier-visions. Against the possibility that the visions were founded upon the ritual and not vice versa is the fact that the visions appeared at a time when, according to our evidence, the ritual was unknown. The most plausible explanation appears to be that the Montanist gnosis67 was produced, not by borrowing from the Cybele-cult, but by the transformation of a future eschatology into a partly-realised one.

We must therefore consider a sketch of the development of Cataphrygianism notably different from that generally accepted: the original prophecy simply shared the eschatological expectations of Justin and Irenaeus, and the decisive change comes with the death of the last of the great Trio, the failure of the prophetic succession, and her prophecy of the approaching sunte/leia. A continuing Cataphrygianism, and especially one in which prophecy had reappeared, would have to come to terms with this last utterance of Maximilla. An obvious solution — though not, I think, adopted by all Cataphrygians — was to produce the only sunte/leia possible, a spiritual Jerusalem descending wherever Montanists gathered together. I doubt very much the judgement of de Labriolle, that the sect always lived on the same spiritual basis.68 What then, was the relation between Tertullianism and Cataphrygianism? We may dismiss at once the conjecture of Massingberd-Ford, that they are mainly independent |p49 developments from different though related types of Jewish Christianity.69 Tertullian’s repeated recognition of Montanus, Prisca and Maximilla shows beyond all question that his Montanism came froth Montanus, from Phrygia.

On the other side there is the argument of de Labriolle, that Tertullianism distinguished itself from Cataphrygianism by conscious and deliberate choice.

Ce qui prouve qu’il ne perdit a aucun moment de vue lea vicissitudes de la secte en Orient, c’est que, en riposte a l’ouvrage d’Apollonius, paru aux environs de l’année 212, il annexa aux six livres de son De Ecstasi an septième livre dirigé contre ce polemiste (Jerome, de vir. ill. xl). On ne saúrait donc soutenir serieusement que Tertullien n’ait connu qu’un Montanisme d’exportation, systématiquement édulcoré. Il l'a connu dans sa realité historique, et là où il en a modiflé lea traits originels, c’est par une élaboration consciente dont il est pleinement responsable.70 

Tertullian, however, appears to have known nothing of Maximilla’s last prophecy. Before we assume that this is a case of ‘conscious and deliberate modification’ we should ask whether knowledge of Apollonius’ work necessarily implies a continuing contact with Phrygia. The early reports on Cataphrygianism had been favourably received in the West, not only at Lyons but apparently also at Rome.

Nam idem tunc episcopum Romanum, agnoscentem iam prophetias Montani, Priscae, Maximillae, et ex ea agnitione pacem ecclesiis Asiae et Phrygiae inferentem, falsa de ipsis prophetis et ecclesiis eorum adseruando et praecessorum eius auctoritates defendendo coegit (Praxeas) et litteras pacis reuocare iam emissas, et a proposito recipiendorum charismatum concessare.71

Since Tertullian ought naturally to have sought to refute these falsa; since there is no attempt to do so in any of his extant writings; and since the only place where he is said to have done so is in the seventh book of the De ecstasi, it is a reasonable conclusion that the falsa of Praxeas either consisted of or were founded upon the work of Apollonius, the gist of which would thus be known in Rome and the West. Since in his surviving works, he shews not the slightest realisation that the morals of the New |p50 Prophecy need any defence, we can assume that the falsa came as a surprise to him, and that he did not believe them for a moment. No continuous contact of Tertullian with Phrygia needs to be postulated. Indeed, there is no suggestion in his writings that it had ever existed. We must disagree with de Labriolle: all the indications are that Tertullian did receive a ‘Montanisme d’exportation’. Montanism was a literary movement,72 and it is reasonable to suppose that Tertullian obtained his knowledge of it from Montanist writings — indeed, the sayings in De resurr. carnis 10, De fuga 9 seem to imply quotation from Montanist scripture. But it is necessary to suppose neither that this ‘export Montanism’ was ‘systématiquement édulcoré’, nor that everything said by Praxeas and Apollonius was ‘falsa’, provided that one allows that in forty years the Cataphrygian movement had changed. We must ask whether, in order to produce a ‘Tertullianism’ substantially orthodox and tenable within the Catholic Church of Africa, Tertullian needed to modify ‘les traits originels’: whether more was needed than a refusal to elaborate and extend them after the contemporary Cataphrygian models.73

The original Montanism, the Montanism of the great prophetic Trio, shared with Justin and Irenaeus a future eschatology and a belief in the descent of the heavenly Jerusalem; but there is no reason to suppose that it taught an imminent parousia. Its sole liturgical innovations were “the novelties of fasts and feasts and meals of parched food and repasts of radishes”,74 its organisational innovation a financial scheme for  |p51 regularising offerings to the Church and apostolic maintenance for preachers.75 The ‘loosing of marriages’76 seems to be no more than an encouraging of inspired women to separate from their husbands. Neither in this, nor in the claim of visions, is there anything to separate off Montanism from the orthodox asceticism of the second century.

It is not fasting that is at issue, but the claim to lay down laws on fasting; not visions and revelations, but the claim that these revelations are to be received as the self-authenticating word of God. It would seem from the arguments of Epiphanius’ oldest sourœ that this, the nature of the pare/kstasij was the point on which orthodox opinion really fastened, what the Anonymous calls prophesying para_ to_ kata_ para&dosin kai\ kata_ diadoxh_n a1nwqen th~j e0kklhsi/aj e1qoj.77 The main point of this can hardly have been an attack on unintelligible glossalia (striking as this may have been in the early enthusiasm of the movement), since objection was taken to sayings of perfect clarity. Schepelern argues that the real quarrel of the Montanist prophets with the ecclesiastical hierarchy was not over the question of penance, still less over the growing organisationalism of the 2nd century Church, but over the claim to control the discerning of spirits by means of the tradition: “man reduzierte damit den Pneumatiker zu einem Faktor zweiten Ranges in Gemeindeleben.”78 In contrast, he holds, the Montanists fell back upon the Johannine Apocalypse — what is spoken is the Word of God (17,17); he who hears is blessed (1,3; 22,7); he who refuses it is cursed (22,8).

The oldest source in Epiphanius argues at length that Christian prophecy is concerned not with possession and the ‘I-form’ of logion as it appears in the Montanist logia 1—4, 15, but with reported visions where the visionary remains conscious and aware of his spectator-role (as in the visions of Hermas). Schepelern was unable to produce any example of the I-form in Christian use. The only example of its contemporary use, and one which no doubt struck the Phrygian bishops, was among the prophets of Palestine and Judaea referred to by Celsus.79 But there is an obvious and significant similarity between the Montanist Logion 4 and various statements of the Apologists:

Behold, man is a lyre, and I rush thereon like a plectrum. Man sleeps and I awake (Logion 4). |p52 

The Spirit from God, who moved the mouths of the prophets like musical instruments... Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah and the other prophets, who, lifted in ecstasy above the natural operations of their minds by the impulses of the divine Spirit, uttered the things with which they were inspired, the Spirit making use of them as a flute-player breathes into a flute (Athenagoras, Legatio 7,9).

The divine plectrum itself, descending from heaven, and using righteous men as an instrument like a harp or lyre (Ps-Justin, Exhort, ad Gent. 8).

The significance lies in the fact that the Apologists are talking about past prophecy, the plenary inspiration of the canonical Old Testament prophets. With the canonisation of the apostolic writings as a New Testament alongside the Old, “confirmatory utterances are found both with the prophets and in the gospels, because they all spoke inspired by one Spirit of God”.80

If we ask why the Montanist phenomenon should have occurred at the time when it did, the answer must surely be that what reduced the pneumatic to a second-rate factor in the life of the community was less the episcopal claim to discern spirits81 than the canonisation of the Apostolic Writings as a New Testament, with its inevitable and final reduction of all non-apostolic prophecy. The threat posed by Montanism, not to the apostolic ministry but to the apostolic scriptures, appears in both the Anonymous and Apollonius.82

The Montanist utterances could nevertheless claim to confirm and not to challenge the apostolic gospel, since their innovations were concerned not with faith, but with the perfecting of discipline. Therefore they could and did hope for recognition by the Church. Nothing could be further from the truth than the statement by a recent writer: “Montanism laid claim to special revelations of a new prophecy denied to the secularized church.”83 On the contrary, in the words of a more careful student of Montanism:

Loin de s’exclure eux-mêmes de la catholicité, ils bornèrent longtemps leur ambition a se faire reconnaître, non par seulement des communautés d’Asie auxquelles ils répétaient leur continuelle sommation Dei~ u(ma~j ta_ xari/smata de/xesqai, mais aussi  |p53 par les lointaines églises.84

For the Cataphrygians, the churches of Asia and Phrygia, the final refusal of Rome to send them letters of peace marked the end of such restraint. But, as we have seen, the refusal of Rome to receive officially the Montanist charismata, and thus make the New Prophecy binding on the whole Church, did not involve a specific condemnation of that Prophecy, and left the Tertullianists free to continue the original Montanist strategy.

At the end of De haeresibus 86, Augustine writes:

Non ergo ideo (because of his views on the soul) est Tertullianus factus haereticus: sed quia transiens ad Cataphrygas, quos ante destruxerat, coepit etiam secundas nuptias contra apostolicam doctrinam tanquam stupra damnare, et postmodum etiam ab ipsis diuisus, sua conuenticula propagauit.

The statement has long been regarded with suspicion. Not only in Tertullian’s writings is there no suggestion of a split among the African followers of the New Prophecy, there is nothing that can be regarded as the possible build-up for a split, and it was long ago suggested that ‘Tertullianistae’ was simply the name for African Montanists.85 T.D. Barnes has suggested86 that the whole idea was an invention of Augustine and Praedestinatus, based merely on inference from the name Tertullianistae. But Augustine could be producing the confused explanation of an authentic tradition. The Tertullanistae had not been implicated automatically in the Roman breach with the Cataphrygians, the churches of Asia and Phrygia. Tertullian was indeed ab ipsis diuisus — not by his own act as the result of a disagreement over doctrine or discipline, but by the papal pronouncement and the facts of geography.

Such a division, however, must have enforced separate development, intensified by the Greek/Latin language division which from the beginning of the 3rd century drives an ever-broader wedge between East and West. Whereas the Cataphrygians were now freed (or abandoned) to elaborate their own conceptions in their own way without any external control, Tertullianism, if (as we maintain) it continued as a group within the Catholic Church, would have been thereby restrained and moderated; nor would this have been a betrayal of the original convictions of the New Prophecy, which had always intended to revitalise the Church from within, not to desert it and set up its own new vehicle of the Spirit. In that |p54 emphasis upon the Spirit which we find in Cyprian and in his heirs, both Donatist and Augustinian, we may perhaps see the continuing influence of Tertullianism; and it is there, rather than in the exotic fantasies of Pepuza, that we should look for the real spirit of the New Prophecy.

 

University of Exeter, Department of Theology


Footnotes originally appeared at the foot of each page.

1 Aduersus Praxean 1,7.

2 The Early History of the Church, I, 202.

3 De pudicitia 21,17.

4 Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. 5, 28.

5 De pudic. 1, 7- 8

6. 2, 6.

7. 3, 1-2.

8. 11, 6.

9. 16,3.

10. De pud. 21,1. 6: Disciplina hominem gubernat, potestas adsignat... Quod si disciplinae solius officia sortitus es, nec imperio praesidere, sed ministerio, quis aut quantus es indulgere.

11. De resurrectione carnis 63,9.

12. De mon. 2,1: Itaque monogamiae disciplinam in haeresim exprobant, nec ulla magis ex causa Paracletum negare coguntur, quam dum existimant novae disciplinae institutorem. De exhort, cast. 6,2: donec novae disciplinae materia proficeret. De uirg. uel. 1,5: Quae est ergo Paracleti administratio, nisi haec, quod disciplina dirigitur. See also the four stages of righteousness, De uirg. uel. 1, and the preliminary sketch of this in De mon. 14.

13. De pud. 21,16.

14. "It must not be supposed that Tertullian is thinking here of two distinct churches, with the Montanist church conceived as a congregation organically separated from the hierarchical church. Rather, within the external church of the bishops there is an amorphous, internal church of the Spirit.” W. P. Le Saint, Treatises on Penance, Ancient Christian Writers xxviii (1959) note 667.

15. De monog. 12,3.

16. De ieiun. 16,3.

17. De ieiun. 1,5.

18. De monog. 15,1.

19. Ecce, posui ante te bonum et malum.

20. De pudic. 1,10.

21. De anima 9,4.

22. De pudic. 1,20.

23. De ieiun. 13, 6-8: Aguntur praeterea per Graecias illa certis in locis concilia ex universis ecclesiis, per quae et altiora quaeque in commune tractantur, et ipsa repraesentatio totius nominis Christiani magna ueneratione celebratur... Conuentus autem illi stationibus prius et ieiunationibus operati dolere cum dolentibus et ita demum congaudere gaudentibus norunt.

24. J.B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers 1890, I, 2, 431.

25. Passio 13: Et exiuimus, et uidimus ante fores Optatum episcopum ad dexteram, et Aspasium presbyterum doctorem ad sinistram, separatos et tristes. et miserunt se ad pedes nobis, et dixerunt: Componite inter nos, quia existis, et sic nos reliquistis. et diximus illis: Non tu es papa noster, et tu presbyter? ut uos ad pedes nobis mittatis? . . . et dum loquimur cum eis, dixerunt illis angeli: Sinite illos refrigerent; et si quas habetis inter uos dissensiones, dimittite uobis inuicem. et conturbauerunt eos. et dixerunt Optato: Corrige plebem tuam; quia sic ad te conueniunt quasi de circo redeuntes, et defactionibus certantes. et sic nobis uisum est quasi uellent claudere portas. The last clause seems clearly to imply that a final exclusion, however much desired by some, had not yet taken place.

26. De vir. illustr. 53.

27. Pierre de Labriolle, La Crise Montaniste (1913) 471.

28. Augustine, De haer. 86, speaks of the transfer of their basilica to the catholics.

29. In an unpublished thesis, Ascetic Conventicles of the Fourth Century (1972), C.J. Garland has illustrated the change in attitude by comparing the qualified condemnations of the Council of Gangra in the 340s with the harsher and more doctrinaire nature of the treatment meted out by Amphilochius of Iconium to the Apotactites.

30. A paper, The Schism of Hippolytus, delivered at the Sixth International Conference on Patristic Studies, Oxford, 1971, and to be published with the proceedings of that Conference.

31. Refutationes 8,19; 10,25—26,

32. Pseudo-Tertullian, Adv. omnes haereses 7.

33. Wilhelm Schepelern, Der Montanismus und die Phrygischen Kulte (Tübingen, 1929) 25.

34.  “I am the Father, and I am the Son, and I am the Paraclete.” For convenience of reference I will cite the Montanist Sayings according to the numbering of W. Schneemelcher, in E. Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha, English translation (Lutterworth Press 1965) 686—7.

35. De pudic. 12,1.

36. De monog. 3,1.

37. De uirg. ueland. 1,4.

38. De monog. 4,1.

39. Didymus, De trinitate 3,41: Montanistw~n h9 pla&nh.

40. Refut. 8,19: 'Eteroi de\ kai\ autoi\ ai9retikw&teroi th_n fu&sin, Fru&gej to_ ge/noj.

41. J. Massingberd-Ford (Was Montanism a Jewish-Christian heresy? Journ. Eccl. Hist. xvii 2, Oct. 1966) assumes that Montanists used the solar calendar, thus indicating their origins from heretical Jusaism; but his evidence comes from Sozomen, Hist. Eccl. 7, 12, 18. The article on “Montanism” in the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (1957), committed itself to the statement that “Montanus himself ... proclaimed that the heavenly Jerusalem would soon descend near Pepuza in Phrygia”. Without going to these lengths, de Labriolle (op. cit., 487) used the descent of the heavenly Jerusalem on Pepuza as a criterion for rejecting as Montanist the prophetess of Firmilian of Caesarea. But we shall find reason to call into question even the criterion advanced by G.Bonwetsch, Geschichte des Montanismus (1881): “an effort to shape the entire life of the Church in keeping with the expectation of the return of Christ, immediately at hand.” See also V. C. De Clerq (The expectation of the second coming of Christ in Tertullian, Studia Patristica xi 2, 147): “His writings do not bear witness to the sense of immediateness and imminence regarding the Day of the Lord ... This is all the more significant as, from c.207, he became more and more committed to the tenets of Montanism, one of which was the imminent return of Christ and the establish ment of the millennium.”

42. (a) Epiphanius’ chronology in Haer. 48 is even wilder than usual. “More or less 290 years” from his date of writing (375) would put Maximilla’s death in the reign of Domitian, while he assumes that Justin died in the reign of Hadrian. Is it possible that he was working from the 19th year of the wrong Antoninus? The 19th year of Antoninus Verus (Marcus Aurelius) would be 177—8, according to Anon, a significant year for Montanism, though the death of Maximilla and not the first prophecy of Montanus. (b) In view of the known affinities and connections between Asia and Gaul, Eusebius’ date would give adequate time for the martyrs of Lyons to hear of the first generous stages of the New Prophecy. (c) The date of Thraseas’ martyrdom (Eus. H.E. 5,18,14) can be fixed as not later than 165, only if the martyrology in H.E. 5,24,2—5 is arranged chronologically: but it is more probably arranged topographically, going round the churches of Asia. Was Polycarp also martyred before 165?

43. Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. 5,16,19.

44. lb. 17,4.

45. The first of these interpretations was pronounced by de Labriolle, op. cit., 585, to be hardly possible. As to the second: it is difficult to interpret h( profh~tij h(mi~n ei0pa&tw ta kata_ 'Alexandron (18,6) as historic present in the absence of any quotation from the written words of the prophetess. I also find difficulty in translating 18,3 as " We shew therefore that these prophetesses were the very first, from the time when they were filled with the spirit, who left their husbands”. For devout women to abandon cohabitation was in no sense a Montanist innovation, and all that Apollonius is endeavouring to prove is that Priscilla had no right to the title of ‘virgin’. A more natural translation would be “We shew therefore that these first prophetesses themselves, from the time when they were filled with the Spirit, had left husbands” — which would imply other prophetesses after ‘these first’.

46. W. Schneemelcher, in E. Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha, English trans. (Lutterworth Press 1965) II,688.

47. “Desire not to die in bed, nor in delivery of children, nor by enervating fevers, but in martyrdom, that he may be glorified who has suffered for you.”

48. Epiphanius, Haer. 49.

49. Haer. 49,1: e0n th~| Pepou^zh| h~ Kui/ntillan h~ Pri/skillan, ou0k e"xw a0lribw~j le/gein, mi/an de\ e0c au0tw~n, w&j proei~pon e0n th~| Pepou&zh| kekaqhudhke/nai . . .

50. Eus. H.E. 5,18,2.

51. Quoted by de Labriolle, op. cit., from Theologische Literaturzeitung 1882; but I have been unable to verify the reference.

52. Adu. Marc. 3,24,3—4: Confitemur in terra nobis regnum promissum, sed ante caelum, sed alio statu, utpote post resurrectionem in mille annos in ciuitate diuini operis Hierusalem caelo delatum ... Hanc et Ezechiel nouit et apostolus loannes uidit et qui apud fidem nostram est nouae prophetiae sermo testatur, ut etiam effigiem ciuitatis ante repraesentationem eius conspectui futuram in signum praedicarit. Denique proxime expunctum est orientali expeditione. Constat enim ethnicis quoque testibus in Iudaea per dies quadraginta matutinis momentis ciuitatem de caelo pependisse, omni moeniorum habitu euanescente de profectu diei, et alias de proximo nullam.

53. Cyprian, Ep. 75, 10.

54. Wilhelm Schepelern, op. cit., 15. He argues from the phrase ut etiam probentur in De anima 9.

55. E.Hennecke, Neutestamentliche Apokryphen (Tübingen 1964) II, 486.

56. H.B. Swete, The Holy Spirit in the Ancient Church (1912) 69. He does not, unfortunately, comment upon his translation.

57. The revelation is simply that “this place” is holy, and that Jerusalem descends or will descend hither”; Pepuza is not explicitly mentioned, though since the vision occurred there and was apparently not repeated, it is Pepuza alone which becomes associated with the heavenly Jerusalem. I may perhaps add here that it has also been suggested tome that w{de is itself ambiguous: it could mean either ‘hither’ or ‘thus’ i.e., the visionary Christ as the woman clothed in brightness.

58. Op. cit., 144-45.

59. Could this conceivably throw any light on the mysterious remark in II Clem. 14,2: h[n ga_r pneumatikh_ (h( e9kklhsi/a), w9j kai\ o9 'Ih~souj h9mw~n, e0fanerw&qh de\ e0p' e0sxa&twn tw~n h9merw~n i3na h9ma~j sw&sh|. Kirsopp Lake (The Apostolic Fathers [1912] 1,151) translated “he was made manifest ... that he might save us”, but commented: “The translation ‘she was made ... that she might save us’ is grammatically more probable, but seems to be excluded both by the context and by the history of doctrine”. As to the context, II Clem. continues “and the Church, which is spiritual, was made manifest in the flesh of Christ”.

60. Epiph. Haer. 49,1:  Dio_ kai\ a1xri th~j deu~ro muou~sqai/ tinaj ou3tw gunaikaj e0keise e0n tw~| to&pw| kai\ a1ndraj, pro_j to_ e0pimeina&saj au0ta_j h2 au0tou_j to_n Xristo_n qewrh~sai. Gunaikej ou]n par' au0toij kalou~ntai profh&tidej.

61. Op. cit., 162.

62. Epiph. Haer. 48,14—15; cf. Filastrius, Haer. 49; Augustine, De haer. 26.

63. Op. cit., 127

64. Op.cit.,344.

65. In reference to the draco which endeavours to prevent her ascent of the heavenly staircase et quasi primum gradum calcarem calcaui illi caput, Pass Perp. 4. Xa&rin dido&ntej th~| Eu1a|, o3ti prw&th be/brwken a0po_ tou~ cu&lou th~j fronh&sewj, Epiph. Haer. 49,2.

66. We presume that the author of Gal. 3,28 also wrote I Cor. 14, 34-35. The text was not much used in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and the only comments upon it m this period known to me are Clem. Alex. Protr. 11, where it is used to show that the same Logos is in all the converted; and Paed. 6, where it is used against the gnostic division into pneumatikoi and psychikoi. For Clement, the perfect man may be a presbyter of the celestial church, but this in itself gives him no title to the presbyterate in the earthly church; a fortiori of a perfected woman.

67. By this I do not mean that they had borrowed from the heretical Gnosticism of the second century, and certainly not from its dualism; but simply that their transformation of the eschatology had produced an outlook with some similarities.

68. Op. cit., 483.

69. Massingberd-Ford, op. cit. Tertullian’s “type of Montanism differs from the New Prophecy, especially in its lighter emphasis on prophecy, the omission of the mention of Pepuza, and the concomitant lack of interest in an imminent parousia . . . We suggest that both the New Prophecy in Phrygia and Tertullianism in Africa developed from Jewish Christianity. This would account for the similarities between the two. Their dissimilarities can be attributed to the different types of Judaism from which they sprang, in the one case a Babylonian type of Judaism, in the other an African Judaism”.

70. Op. cit., 299.

71. Adu. Prax. 1,5.

72. Eus. H.E. 5,17,1; 5,18,5; Hipp. Refut. 8,19.

73. Only upon the question of penance is there reason to suppose that Tertullian misread the Montanist Saying 6, and became more rigorist than his preceptors. So de Labriolle, op. cit., 59—60: “A dire vrai, je ne crois pas que Montan et sea acolytes, quelqu’animés qu’ils fussent contre l’Eglise de leur temps, pour lea faiblesses qu’ils notaient en cUe, comme pour lea sevérités qu’elle déployait a leur égard, aient jamais osé réserver le titre d’Eglise a la collectivité moataniste. Us ne sont accuses nulle part d’un transfert aussi audacieux, et qui n’eut guère cadre avec Ia prudence relative de leur traditionalisme. Plus tard seulement Ia secte se donnera une organisation distincte. Montan reconnait, et il proclame, le droit de Ia hierarchic a délier lea fautes. Mais se jugeant capable, lui prophòte, de Ia même prerogative, il indique avec fermeté qu’iI entend n’en user point et pour quelle raison. C’est Tertullien, nous le verrons, qui, sollicitant ce mot aver son astuce habituelle, lui donnera une portée tout autrement lointaine et meurtrière." De Labriolle argued from Eus. H.E. 5,18,7, as implying Montanist forgiveness of sins; though Bernhard Poschmann (Paenitentia Secunda [B onn 1940] 265) argued that this passage need imply nothing concerning Montanist Busspraxis, but could be simply a jibe of Apollonius at the Montanist need for forgiveness. Tertullian’s reading of this Saying, however, had far-reaching consequences upon his doctrine of the ministry.

74. Hipp. Refut. 8,19.

75. Eus. H.E. 5,18,2.

76. Ibid.

77. lb. 16,7.

78. Op. cit., 134.

79. Origen, C. Cels. 7,2—11.

80. Theophilus, Ad Autol. 3,12.

81. I can in fact find no evidence for an explicit episcopal claim to discern spirits, apart from the action of the Asian episcopate against the New Prophecy. Didache 11,7 (and I take this to be a late 2nd century Montanist compilation) denies the right so to discern, but in quite general terms. Hermas 43 (Mand. 11,7ff) is couched in equally general terms. It is not mentioned in the listing of episcopal functions in Hipp., Apostolic Tradition 3,4—S.

82. Eus. H.E. 5,16,3; 5,18,5.

83. Jaroslav Peikan, The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (U. of Chicago Press, 197 1) 68.

84. Op. cit., 136.

85. J. M. Fuller, Dictionary of Christian Biography (1887) IV, 819.

86. Tertullian:  a historical and literary study (1971) 258.

Greek text is rendered using the Scholars Press
SPIonic font, free from here.


Bibliographic & Copyright details

Douglas POWELL, Tertullianists and Cataphrygians, Vigiliae Christianae 29 (1975), 33-54; © Brill Academic Publishers, 1975.  Reproduced by permission of the publisher.  All rights reserved.


This page has been accessed by ****** people since 27th October 2001.


Return to the Tertullian Project About these pages