TEACHINGS OF MONTANISM
Some of the Chief Articles in the Dictionary of Christian Biography,
Literature etc. Vol. III
Smith, Henry Wace 1882
Montanism and the Canon.
The most fundamental innovation of Montanist teaching was the theory
of an authorized development of Christian doctrine, as opposed to
the older theory that Christian doctrine was preached in its
completeness by the apostles and that the church had merely to
preserve faithfully the tradition of their teaching.
The Montanists did not reject the apostolic revelations nor abandon
any doctrines the church had learned from its older teachers. The
revelations of the new prophecy were to supplement, not to displace,
Scripture. They believed that while the fundamental truths of faith
remained unshaken, points both of discipline and doctrine might
receive correction. "A process of development was exhibited in God's
revelations. It had its rudimentary principle in the religion of
nature, its infancy in the law and the prophets, its youth in the
gospel, its full maturity only in the dispensation of the Paraclete.
Through His enlightenment the dark places of Scripture are made
clear, parables made plain, those passages of which heretics had
taken advantage cleared of all ambiguity" (Tert. de Virg. Vel. i.;
de Res. Carn. 63). Accordingly Tertullian appeals to the new
revelations on questions of discipline, e.g. second marriages, and
also on questions of doctrine, as in his work against Praxeas and
his treatise on the Resurrection of the Flesh.
Some have thought it a thing to be regretted that the church by her
condemnation of Montanism should have suppressed the freedom of
individual prophesying. But each new prophetic revelation, if
acknowledged as divine, would put as great a restraint on future
individual speculation as words of Scripture or decree of pope or
council. If Montanism had triumphed, Christian doctrine would have
been developed, not under the superintendence of the church teachers
most esteemed for wisdom, but usually of wild and excitable women.
Thus Tertullian himself derives his doctrine as to the materiality
and the form of the soul from a revelation made to an ecstatica of
his congregation (de Anima, 9). To the Montanists it seemed that if
God's Spirit made known anything as true, that truth could not be
too extensively published. It is evident from quotations in
Epiphanius and Tertullian that the prophecies of Maximilla and
Montanus were committed to writing. To those who believed in their
divine inspiration, these would practically form additional
Scriptures. Hippolytus tells that the Montanists "have an infinity
of books of these prophets whose words they neither examine by
reason, nor give heed to those who can, but are carried away by
their undiscriminating faith in them, thinking that they learn
through their means something more than from the law, the prophets,
and the gospels." Didymus is shocked at a prophetical book emanating
from a female, whom the apostle did not permit to teach. It would be
a mistake to suppose that the Montanistic disputes led to the
formation of a N.T. canon. On the contrary, it is plain that when
these disputes arose Christians had so far closed their N.T. canon
that they were shocked that any modern writing should be made equal
to the inspired books of the apostolic age. The Montanist disputes
led to the publication of lists recognized by particular churches,
and we consider that it was in opposition to the multitude of
Montanist prophetic books that Caius in his disputation gave a list
recognized by his church. The controversy also made Christians more
scrupulous about paying to other books honours like those given to
the books of Scripture, and we believe that it was for this reason
that the Shepherd of Hermas ceased to have a place in church
reading. But still we think it plain from the history that the
conception of a closed N.T. canon was found by Montanism and not
Montanist Doctrines and Practices.
The church objected, as against Montanism, to any addition being
made to the teaching of Scripture. What, then, was the nature of the
additions actually made by the Montanists?
(1) New Fasts.—The prophetesses had ordained that in addition to the
ordinary Paschal fast of the church two weeks of what was called
Xerophagy should be observed. In these the Montanists abstained, not
only from flesh, wine, and the use of the bath, but from all
succulent food, e.g. juicy fruit, except on Saturday and Sunday. The
weekly stations also, or half fasts, which in the church ended at
three p.m., were by Montanists usually continue till evening. The
church party resisted the claim that these two new weeks of
abstinence were divinely obligatory. The real question was, Had the
prophetess God's command for instituting them? This particular
revelation only came into prominence because at recurring intervals
it put a marked difference between Montanists and Catholics, similar
to that which the Paschal fast put between Christians and heathen.
(2) Second Marriages.—On this subject again the difference between
the Montanists and the church really reduces itself to the question
whether the Paraclete spoke by Montanus. Second marriages had before
Montanus been regarded with disfavour in the church. Tertullian
deprecates them with almost as much energy in his pre-Montanist work
ad Uxorem as afterwards in his Montanist de Monogamia. But however
unfavourably such marriages were regarded, their validity and
lawfulness were not denied. St. Paul had seemed to declare that such
marriages were not forbidden (Rom. vii. 3; I. Cor. vii. 39), and the
direction in the pastoral epistles that a bishop should be husband
of one wife seemed to leave others free.
(3) Church Discipline.—The treatise of Tertullian (de Pudicitia)
shews a controversy of Montanists with the church concerning the
power of church officers to give absolution. The occasion was the
publication, by one whom Tertullian sarcastically calls "Pontifex
Maximus" and "Episcopus Episcoporum," of an edict of pardon to
persons guilty of adultery and fornication on due performance of
penance. Doubtless a bp. of Rome is intended, and as Hippolytus
tells (ix. 12) of Callistus being the first to introduce such laxity
in granting absolution, it seems plain that Callistus was referred
to. Tertullian holds that for such sin absolution ought never to be
given. Not that the sinner was to despair of obtaining God's pardon
by repentance; but it was for God alone to pardon; man might not.
(4) Montanus taught “the Priesthood of the People,” and this was a
threat to the existing Church clergy. Much of the history of
Christianity has been determined by this repetitive struggle between
the clergy of the Church and those who would do away with it.
Differences between Montanism and orthodox Christianity
The beliefs of Montanism contrasted with orthodox Christianity in
the following ways:
belief that the prophecies of the Montanists superseded and
fulfilled the doctrines proclaimed by the Apostles.
encouragement of ecstatic prophesying, contrasting with the more
sober and disciplined approach to theology dominant in orthodox
Christianity at the time and since.
view that Christians who fell from grace could not be redeemed, also
in contrast to the orthodox Christian view that contrition could
lead to a sinner's restoration to the church.
stronger emphasis on the avoidance of sin and church discipline than
in orthodox Christianity. They emphasized chastity, including
of the Montanists were also "Quartodeciman" ("fourteeners"),
preferring to celebrate Easter on the Hebrew calendar date of 14
Nisan, regardless of what day of the week it landed on. The
orthodoxy held that Easter should be commemorated on the Sunday
following 14 Nisan. (Trevett 1996:202)
and other church leaders claimed that the Montanists of their own
day held the belief that the Trinity consisted of only a single
person, similar to Sabellianism, as opposed to the orthodox view
that the Trinity is one God of three persons which Tertullian also
had held. There were some that were indeed modalistic monarchians
(Sabellians) and some that were closer to the Trinitarian doctrine.
It is reported that these modalists baptized mentioning the name of
Jesus Christ as opposed to mentioning the Trinity. Most of the later
Montanists were of the modalistic camp.
Only two books have appeared in English on the subject of
Montanism. The first of these, Montanism and the Primitive Church,
was written by John de Soyres of Cambridge University in 1878. "Our
conclusion," he states, "is that there was nothing [in Montanism]
opposite to an article of creed."
He ascribes to Montanism the diverse operations of the Spirit (I
Cor. 12:6f.) and the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), before
closing his book with the ominous words: “And where this Spirit
shows itself in these fruits, though Popes and Councils may
anathematize, the Great Judge will one day reverse their judgment.”
A Jesuit scholar, Walter J. Burghardt, writes, "I can find no
persuasive evidence that primitive Montanism was guilty of heresy."
David F. Wright, the Senior Lecturer in Ecclesiastical History at
Edinburgh University and the first editor of Themelios, the leading
evangelical journal for biblical and theological students in the
British Isles, states that the church's rejection of Montanism was
"damaging and regrettable:" The reaction against Montanism brought
upon the church impoverishment more detrimental than the upset
caused by the unbalanced excesses of the New Prophecy.
At first, there seems to be something to the claims of recent
scholarship. Writing of his Montanist beliefs, Tertullian expressly
declared, “ The rule of faith, indeed, is completely one, alone
unalterable and irreformable, that is, in believing in one God
alone, omnipotent, creator of the world, and in his son Jesus
Christ, born of the virgin Mary, crucified under Pontius Pilate,
resurrected from the dead on the third day, received into heaven,
now seated at the Father's right hand, who will come to judge the
living and the dead by the resurrection of their flesh also” (On the
Veiling of Virgins 1.4).
Hippolytus admitted, "They, like the Church, confess that God is the
Father of the universe and the creator of all things, and they
accept all that the gospel testifies about Christ."28 The
fourth-century heresy-hunter Epiphanius gives a similar testimony,
"They use the Old and the New Testaments, and likewise say that
there is a resurrection of the dead" (Medicine 49.2; cf. 48.1.3).
"They hold the same view of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as the
Holy Catholic Church" (Medicine 48.1.4).
Thus as regards to the fundamental faith, Montanism is in accordance
with the faith that was once and for all handed down to our fathers.
The question is did the revelation end with the Apostles. Certainly
Jesus did promise the paraclete to reveal the mysteries still hidden
to us individuals.
Here are the basic verses.
"I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, who
will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all
truth. The world at large cannot receive him, because it isn't
looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you do, because he
lives with you now and later will be in you.”
"But when the Father sends the Counselor as my representative -- and
by the Counselor I mean the Holy Spirit --
he will teach you everything
will remind you of everything I myself have told you."
John 14:16-17, 26
"When the Spirit of truth comes,
he will guide you into all truth.
He will not be presenting his own ideas;
he will be telling you what he has heard.
He will tell you about the future.
He will bring me glory by revealing to you whatever he receives from
All that the Father has is mine;
this is what I mean when I say that
the Spirit will reveal to you whatever he receives from me."
"When the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and
will tell people about me everywhere -- in Jerusalem, throughout
Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8
“Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a
mighty windstorm in the skies above them, and it filled the house
where they were meeting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of
fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was
filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other tongues, as
the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.”
We know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy
Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Evidently the Bible as we have today which is closed at the end of
the Period of the Apostles is not the complete revelation. We closed
the canon at that time as a safety so that everything that follows
must conform to it as a safety feature. Don’t forget most of the
letters in the New Testament was written by a Paul who probably
never say Jesus nor ever was a disciple of disciple Jesus when Jesus
was alive on this earth during his incarnation. He was given the
knowledge by revelation. He himself does not know whether he was in
his body or out of the body. The spirit took him out of this world
into the third heaven. These are the ways Holy Spirit function. It
is not under the authority of the Church leaders nor of the Apostles
It is true that all spirit possessions have that aspect. I have
seen possession induced by continuous noise, Songs, Music, Dancing
or even continuous praise and worship. How do we know the
possession is by the Holy Spirit or by Evil Spirit.
letter To Marcella on the Doctrines of Montanism
St. Jerome (ca. 347-420), one of the four Latin Fathers of the
Church (along with Sts. Augustine, Ambrose, and Gregory the Great),
is particularly famous for translating the Bible into Latin, known
as the Vulgate Bible. The saint spent four years in the Syrian
desert as a hermit, mortifying his flesh and elevating his spirit
through study. The subject has given Pinturicchio the opportunity to
depict a monumental, rocky landscape, while the lizard and the
scorpion call attention to the desolation of the scene. The open
book contains a passage from a letter attributed to St. Augustine in
which Jerome is compared to St. John the Baptist, another saint who
lived in the wilderness.
An effort having been made to convert Marcella to Montanism, Jerome
here summarizes for her its leading doctrines, which he contrasts
with those of the Church. Written at Rome in 385 A.D.
1. As regards the passages brought together from the gospel of John
with which a certain votary of Montanus has assailed you, passages
in which our Saviour promises that He will go to the Father, and
that He will send the Paraclete — as regards these, the Acts of the
Apostles inform us both for what time the promises were made, and at
what time they were actually fulfilled. Ten days had elapsed, we are
told, from the Lord's ascension and fifty from His resurrection,
when the Holy Spirit came down, and the tongues of the believers
were cloven, so that each spoke every language. Then it was that,
when certain persons of those who as yet believed not declared that
the disciples were drunk with new wine, Peter standing in the midst
of the apostles, and of all the concourse said: "You men of Judæa
and all you that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you and
hearken to my words: for these are not drunken as you suppose,
seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which
was spoken of by the prophet Joel. And it shall come to pass in the
last days, says God, I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh:
and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall
see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my
servants, and on my handmaidens I will pour out...of my spirit."
and Tongues have ceased with Apostles
If, then, the apostle Peter, upon whom the Lord has founded the
Church, Matthew 16:18 has expressly said that
the prophecy and promise of the Lord were then and there fulfilled, how
can we claim another fulfilment for ourselves? If the Montanists
reply that Philip's four daughters prophesied Acts 21:9 at a later
date, and that a prophet is mentioned named Agabus, and that in the
partition of the spirit, prophets are spoken of as well as apostles,
teachers and others, and that Paul himself prophesied many things
concerning heresies still future, and the end of the world; we tell
them that we do not so much reject prophecy— for this is attested by
the passion of the Lord— as refuse to receive prophets
whose utterances fail to accord with the Scriptures old and new.
3. Faith in Sabellianism:
Sabellianism in the Eastern church or Patripassianism in the Western
church (also known as modalism, modalistic monarchianism, or modal
monarchism) is the nontrinitarian or anti-trinitarian belief that
the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son, and Holy Spirit are three
different modes or aspects of one monadic God, as perceived by the
believer, rather than three distinct persons within the Godhead
In the first place we differ from the Montanists
regarding the rule of faith.
We distinguish the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as three
persons, but unite them as one substance. They, on the other hand,
the doctrine of Sabellius,
force the Trinity into the narrow limits of a single personality.
Second Marriage forbidden.
We, while we do not encourage them, yet allow second marriages,
since Paul bids the younger widows to marry. 1 Timothy 5:14
They suppose a repetition of marriage a sin so
awful that he who has committed it is to be regarded as an
Three fasts in an year
We, according to the apostolic tradition (in which the whole world
is at one with us), fast through one Lent yearly; whereas they
keep three fasts in the year as
though three saviours had suffered. I do not mean, of course, that
it is unlawful to fast at other times through the year— always
excepting Pentecost — only that while in Lent it is a duty of
obligation, at other seasons it is a matter of choice.
Hierarchy difference in order
With us, again, the bishops occupy the place of the apostles, but
with them a bishop ranks not first but third. For while they
put first the patriarchs of Pepusa in Phrygia, and place next to
these the ministers called stewards, the bishops are relegated to
the third or almost the lowest rank. No
doubt their object is to make their religion more pretentious by
putting that last which we put first.
Strict membership rule
they close the doors of the Church to almost every fault, while
we read daily, "I desire the repentance of a sinner rather than his
death," Ezekiel 18:23 and "Shall they fall and not arise, says the
Lord," Jeremiah 8:4 and once more "Return ye backsliding children
and I will heal your backslidings." Jeremiah 3:22 Their strictness
does not prevent them from themselves committing grave sins, far
from it; but there is this difference between us and them, that,
whereas they in their self-righteousness blush to confess their
faults, we do penance for ours, and so more readily gain pardon for
of Father, Son and Holy Spirit
I pass over their sacraments of sin, made up as they are said to be,
of sucking children subjected to a triumphant martyrdom. I prefer, I
say, not to credit these; accusations of blood-shedding may well be
false. But I must confute the open blasphemy of men who say that
God first determined in the Old Testament to save the world by Moses
and the prophets, but that finding Himself unable to fulfil His
purpose He took to Himself a body of the Virgin, and preaching under
the form of the Son in Christ, underwent death for our salvation.
Moreover that, when by these two steps He was unable to save the
world, He last of all descended by the Holy Spirit
upon Montanus and those demented women Prisca and Maximilia; and
that thus the mutilated and emasculate Montanus possessed a fullness
of knowledge such as was never claimed by Paul; for he was content
to say, "We know in part, and we prophesy in part," and again, "Now
we see through a glass darkly." 1 Corinthians 13:9, 12
These are statements which require no refutation. To expose the
infidelity of the Montanists is to triumph over it. Nor is it
necessary that in so short a letter as this I should overthrow the
several absurdities which they bring forward. You are well
acquainted with the Scriptures; and, as I take it, you have written,
not because you have been disturbed by their cavils, but only to
learn my opinion about them.
Translated by W.H. Fremantle, G. Lewis and W.G. Martley. From Nicene
and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 6. Edited by Philip
Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing
Co., 1893.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight.
THE ORACLES OF MONTANISM
This is a collection of the Oracles of Montanists during their early
periods as Quoted by their contempories
“A Study of early montanism and its relation to the Christian Church
William Gordon Murdoch, 1946 Birmigham
They give insight to the nature and content of their oracles and
some insight into their theology.
Oracles and spirit possesion are common to all religions and
cultures around the world.
"In China, the use of oracle bones dates as far back as the Shang
Dynasty, (1600–1046 BC). In Egypt, the earliest known oracle was in
the renowned temple of Per-Wadjet. The temple was dedicated to the
worship of Wadjet and may have been the source for the oracular
tradition that spread to Ancient Greece from Egypt. The later Greeks
called both the goddess and the city Buto".
in Hellenic culture by c. 1300 BC the oracles were associated with
the cults of nature and fertility, the most famous of these was the
Delphic Oracle of the temple of Delphi". In ancient India, the
oracle was known as Akashwani, literally meaning "voice from the
sky" and was related to the message of God. Oracles played key roles
in many of the major incidents of the epics Mahabharat and Ramayana.
In South Indian languages , "Oracle" is mentioned as "Ashareeravani"
,meaning “voice from the one without a body” It is also known as
"Daiva Vaakku". It literally means 'Words of God'. It is a common
practice even today in every temple festival. See
AS CITED BY EPHIPANIUS
Ephanius used the same original manuscript as Philaster, i.e., "The
Syntaana of Hippolytus". He seems also to have had access to a book
of Montanist oracles. In addition to these he drew quite largely
from the verbal tradition of his time.
Oracle No. 1. Montanus
starts his oracle thus:
"It is I, the Lord God all powerful, who dwell in man."
Oracle No. 2.
Montanus further states:
"Neither an angel nor an ambassador, but I the Lord God the Father
am come." That the prophet was conscious of a real union with God
Oracle No. 3 Maximilla
"Hearken not to me, but hearken to Christ.”
Oracle 4 Montanus
"Behold, man is as a lyre, and I myself play as a plectrum. Man
sleeps and I watch. Behold, the Lord is He who takes away men's
hearts out of them and gives hearts to men.”
These two oracles illustrate the Montanist theory of inspiration and
the place of ecstasy in the experience of the prophets. Montanus
comparison of the lyre and the plectrum. is not found in the sacred
Scriptures, but occurs in Cicero and Prudentius in Greek
Philosophy. Christian literature offers similar language. In
the “ Odes of Solomon vi” it is stated, "As the hand on the harp, so
the Lord's Spirit on His members."
The author of the Cohortatio ad Graecos: De monarchia ; Oratio ad
Graecos edited by Miroslav Marcovich“Graecos stated concerning the
“They ought to present themselves pure to the energy of the divine
Spirit in order that the divine plectrum itself, descending from
heaven, and using righteous men as an instrument like a harp or
lyre, might reveal to us the knowledge of things divine and
heavenly.(Cohortatio ad Graecos. Viii)
uses the figure of the musician to illustrate how the prophets
became the instrument of the Spirit:
Lifted in ecstasy above the natural operations of their minds by the
impulses of the divine Spirit, they uttered the things with which
they were inspired, the Spirit making use of them as a flute player
"breathes into a flute.° (Athengoras, Leg. Ix)
of the prophets states: “They had always in them the Logos as a
plectrum, actuated by which they announced those things which God
Clement of Alexandria,
speaking of the lifeless instruments, lyre and harp, compares them
with the living instrument: A beautiful breathing instrument of
music the Lord made man, after His own image.(Hippolytus, Be
view of inspiration is somewhat similar: “No man in his wits attains
prophetic truth and inspiration ....His intelligence is either
enthralled by sleep or he is demented by some distemper or
possession.” ( Plato, Timaeus. Ixxii)
Speaking of the priestesses of Delphi and Dodona in the Phaedrus,
Plato stated that they uttered few things of value in their sane
minds ; they were supposed to enter into an abnormal condition of
trance for the purpose of uttering their oracles.
"The Lord has sent me as adherent, teacher, interpreter of this
work, the promise and the covenant, compelled, willing and not
willing, to learn the knowledge of God." (Epiphanius, Panarion.
The oracle reveals a duality of divine and human consciousness in
"What do you say (of) the superman who is saved?" 'The righteous
shall shine a hundred times brighter than the sun, and those who are
small among you, once saved, shall shine a hundred times more than
whom they call Maximilla the prophetess declares "After me there
will no longer be a prophetess but the end." “
"In the form of a woman, clad in a dazzling robe, Christ came to me.
He imparted wisdom to me and revealed to me that this place (Pepuza)
is sacred and that here Jerusalem will descend from heaven."
The prophetess here tells of a vision akin to that of Cornelius
recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.
"Shining raiment" is the radiance in which Christ appeared to the
prophetess. This type of appearance of a heavenly messenger is
common in both the Old and New Testaments. In this oracle the
prophetess declares in full consciousness the dream which she had
during sleep and she gives it as a revelation of Christ.
This is probably the only time that Christ is said to appear as a
woman. However, this likeness may have been in the dazzling white
apparel or, as in the Gospel to the Hebrews and in sundry fragments
of Gnostic origin, where the feminine is applied to the Spirit.
FOUND IN THE WRITINGS OF
EUSEBIUS, DIDYMUS AND TERTULLIAN
"And let not the spirit which speaks through Maximilla say in the
same work - that according to Asterius Urbanus, 'I am pursued as a
wolf from sheep. I am not a wolf; I am Utterance, Spirit, and
"For he says, Montanus said: *1 am the Father and the Son and the
"The Word, therefore, is both in the Father always - as He said, 'I
am in the Father; and always with God, - according to what is
written, "And the Word was with God; and never separate from the
Father or other than the Father, since 'I and the Father are one.
This Word will "be an emanation of the truth, the guardian of the
Unity; whence we declare that the Son is a prolation from the
Father, but not separated from Him. For God sent forth the Word, as
the Paraclete also declares, just as the root puts forth the trunk
of the tree, and the fountain the river, and the sun theray. For
these examples are also emanations of the substances from which they
proceed."(Tertullian, Adv. Fraxean. Viii)
"And if you ask counsel of the Spirit, what does He approve more
than that utterance of the Spirit?
"So also elsewhere do not choose to die on bridal beds, nor in
miscarriages, nor in fevers, but as martyrs, that He may be
glorified who has suffered for us." (Tertullian, De Fusa. Ix)
"'But,' you say, 'the Church has the power of forgiving sins. This I
acknowledge and take account of more than you; I who have, in the
persons of the new prophets, the Paraclete Himself who says, 'The
Church has the power to forgive sins; but I will not use it, lest
they commit other sins. '"
The basis for the belief that the Church had power to forgive sins
is probably found in the Gospel according to John xx, 22-23:”And
when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them,
Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whosoever sins ye remit, they are
remitted unto them; and whosoever sins ye retain, they are
"Again, through the holy prophetess, Prisca it is proclaimed that
the holy minister is competent to administer sanctity. 'For
purity, makes for harmony, and they see visions, and bowing their
heads, they hear distinct voices, as salutary as they are
Philo had already emphasised this point in Quis Rerum Divinarum:
“For the prophet utters nothing of his own, in all his words there
is to be discerned the Voice of Another. It is not lawful for any
non-virtuous man to become the interpreter of God, so by the fitness
of things no vicious man is capable of the state of enthusiasm. Such
things'belong to the wise man alone, because the wise man alone is
the sounding instrument of God, struck and played by God after an
Philo calls this possession by God "divine madness." Philo's
idealized description of the order of theTherapeutae comes to its
high point in depicting the nocturnal ceremony which conferred the
rapture of ecstatic enthusiasm upon the ascetic who practised
abstemious living and continual meditation.
It is clear from this oracle that the Montanists believed that
purity of heart was necessary before one could receive that insight
which comes from divine illumination.
(Philo, Vita Contemp.. 83-89.)
"Thus far touching my eulogy of the flesh, in opposition to its
enemies, who are, notwithstanding, its greatest friends also; for
there is nobody who lives so much in accordance with the flesh as
they who deny the resurrection of the flesh. They deny its
punishment and they despise its discipline. It is a shrewd saying
which the Paraclete utters concerning these persons through the
prophetess Prisca: 'They are carnal, and yet they hate the flesh
"( Tert., De Resurrectione Carnis, xi:)