Early Church Fathers
197 Apelles was the greatest and most famous of Marcion's disciples. Tertullian wrote a special work against him, which is unfortunately lost, but from his own quotations, and from those of Pseudo-Tertullian and Hippolytus, it can be in part restored (cf. Harnack's De Apellis Gnosis Monarchia, p. 11 sqq.). As he was an old man (see §5, below) when Rhodo conversed with him, he must have been born early in the second century. We know nothing definite either as to his birth or death. The picture which we have of him in this chapter is a very pleasing one. He was a man evidently of deep religious spirit and moral life, who laid weight upon "trust in the crucified Christ" (see §5, below), and upon holiness in life in distinction from doctrinal beliefs; a man who was thus thoroughly Marcionitic in his principles, although he differed so widely with Marcion in some of his doctrinal positions that he was said to have founded a new sect (so Origen, Hom. in Gen. II. 2). The slightest difference, however, between his teaching and Marcion's would have been sufficient to make him the founder of a separate Gnostic sect in the eyes of the Fathers, and therefore this statement must be taken with allowance (see note 4, above). The account which Hippolytus (Phil. X. 16) gives of the doctrinal positions of Apelles is somewhat different from that of Rhodo, but ambiguous and less exact. The scandal in regard to him, reported by Tertullian in his De Praescriptione, 30, is quite in accord with Tertullian's usual conduct towards heretics, and may be set aside as not having the slightest foundation in fact, and as absolutely contradicting what we know of Apelles from this report of his contemporary, Rhodo. His moral character was certainly above reproach, and the same may be said of his master, Marcion. Upon Apelles, see especially Harnack's De Apellis Gnosis Monarchia, Lips. 1874.
198 The participle (semnunomenoj) carries with it the implication that Apelles' character was affected or assumed. The implication, however, does not lessen the value of Rhodo's testimony to his character. He could not deny its purity, though he insinuated that it was not sincere.
199 This means that Apelles accepted only one God, and made the creator but an angel who was completely under the power of the Supreme God. Marcion, on the contrary, held, as said below, two principles, teaching that the world-creator was himself a God, eternal, uncreated, and independent of the good God of the Christians. It is true that Marcion represented the world-creator as limited in power and knowledge, and taught that the Christian God would finally be supreme, and the world-creator become subject to him; but this, while it involves Marcion in self-contradiction as soon as the matter is looked at theoretically, yet does not relieve him from the charge of actual dualism. His followers were more consistent, and either accepted one principle, subordinating the world-creator completely to the good God, as did Apelles, or else carried out Marcion's dualism to its logical result and asserted the continued independence of the Old Testament God and the world-creator, who was thus very early identified with Satan and made the enemy of the Christian God. (Marcion's world-creator was not the bad God, but the righteous in distinction from the good God.) Still others held three principles: the good God of the Christians, the righteous God or world-creator, and the bad God, Satan. The varying doctrines of these schools explain the discrepant and often contradictory reports of the Fathers in regard to the doctrines of Marcion. Apelles' doctrine was a decided advance upon that of Marcion, as he rejected the dualism of the latter, which was the destructive element in his system, and thus approached the Church, whose foundation must be one God who rules the world for good. His position is very significant, as remarked by Harnack, because it shows that one could hold Marcion's fundamental principle without becoming a dualist.
200 i.e. the Old Testament prophecies. Apelles in his Syllogisms (see below, note 28) exhibited the supposed contradictions of the Old Testament in syllogistic form, tracing them to two adverse angels, of whom the one spoke falsely, contradicting the truth spoken by the other. Marcion, on the other hand (in his Antitheses), referred all things to the same God, the world-creator, and from the contradictions of the book endeavored to show his vacillating and inconsistent character. He, however, accepted the Old Testament as in the main a trustworthy book, but referred the prophecies to the Jewish Messiah in distinction from the Christ of the New Testament. But Apelles, looking upon two adverse angels as the authors of the book, regarded it as in great part false. Marcion and Apelles were one, however, in looking upon it as an anti-Christian book.
201 This virgin, Philumene, is connected with Apelles in all the reports which we have of him (e.g. in Hippolytus, Tertullian, Jerome, &c.), and is reported to have been looked upon by Apelles as a prophetess who received revelations from an angel, and who worked miracles. Tertullian, De Praescriptione, 6, evidently accepts these miracles as facts, but attributes them to the agency of a demon. They all unite in considering her influence the cause of Apelles' heretical opinions. Tertullian (ibid. 30, &c.) calls her a prostitute, but the silence of Rhodo and Hippolytus is sufficient refutation of such a charge, and it may be rejected as a baseless slander, like the report of Apelles' immorality mentioned in note 7. There is nothing strange in the fact that Apelles should follow the prophecies of a virgin, and the Fathers who mention it evidently do not consider it as anything peculiar or reprehensible in itself. It was very common in the early Church to appeal to the relatives of virgins and widows. Cf. e.g. the virgin daughters of Philip who prophesied (Acts xxi. 9; Eusebius, III. 31), also the Eccles. Canons, chap. 21, where it is directed that three widows shall be appointed, of whom two shall give themselves to prayer, waiting for revelations in regard to any question which may arise in the Church, and the third shall devote herself to nursing the sick. Tertullian also appeals for proof of the materiality of the soul to a vision enjoyed by a Christian sister (de Anima, 9). So Montanus had his prophetesses Priscilla and Maximilla (see the next chapter).
202 Of these two men we know only what is told us here. They are not mentioned elsewhere.
203 See note 9.
204 o nauthj. This word is omitted by many mss., but is found in the best ones and in Rufinus, and is accepted by most of the editors of Eusebius. Tertullian calls Marcion a ship-master (Adv. Marc. III. 6, and IV. 9, &c.) and a pilot (ibid. I. 18), and makes many plays upon his profession (e.g. ibid. V. 1), and there is no reason to take the word in a figurative sense (as has been done) and suppose that he is called a mariner simply because of his nationality. We know that he traveled extensively, and that he was a rich man (for he gave 200,000 sesterces at one time to the church of Rome, which was a large sum for those days; see Tertullian, de Praescript. 30). There is, therefore, no reason to doubt that he was a "ship-master," as Tertullian calls him.
205 It was the custom of the Fathers to call the heretics hard names, and Marcion received his full share of them from his opponents, especially from Tertullian. He is compared to a wolf by Justin also, Apol. I. 58, on account of his "carrying away" so many "lambs" from the truth.
206 See note 9.
207 Of Syneros we know only what is told us here. He is not mentioned elsewhere. Had the Marcionites split into various sects, these leaders must have been well known among the Fathers, and their names must have been frequently referred to. As it was, they all remained Marcionites, in spite of their differences of opinion (see above, note 4).
208 didaskalion, which is the reading of the majority of the mss., and is adopted by Heinichen. Burton and Schwegler read didaskaleion, on the authority of two mss.
209 Apelles was evidently like Marcion in his desire to keep within the Church as much as possible, and to associate with Church people. He had no esoteric doctrines to conceal from the multitude, and in this he shows the great difference between himself and the Gnostics. Marcion did not leave the Church until he was obliged to, and he founded his own church only under compulsion, upon being driven out of the Catholic community.
210 ton logon.
211 This is a truly Christian sentiment, and Apelles should be honored for the expression of it. It reveals clearly the religious character of Marcionism in distinction from the speculative and theological character of the Gnostics, and indeed of many of the Fathers. With Marcion and Apelles we are in a world of sensitive moral principle and of deep religious feeling like that in which Paul and Augustine lived, but few others in the early Church. Rhodo, in spite of his orthodoxy, shows himself the real Gnostic over against the sincere believer, though the latter was in the eyes of the Church a "blasphemous heretic." Apelles' noble words do honor to the movement-however heretical it was-which in that barren age of theology could give them birth.
The latter clause, taken as it stands, would seem to indicate an elevation of good works to the level of faith; but though it is possible that Apelles may have intended to express himself thus, it is more probable, when we remember the emphasis which Marcion laid upon Paul's doctrine of salvation by the grace of God alone, that he meant to do no more than emphasize good works as a natural result of true faith, as we do to-day. The apparent co-ordination of the two may perhaps lie simply in Rhodo's reproduction of Apelles' words. He, at least, did not comprehend Paul's grand doctrine of Christian liberty, nor did any of his orthodox contemporaries. The difference between the common conception of Christ's relation to the law, and the conception of Paul as grasped by Marcion and perhaps by Apelles, is well illustrated by a passage in Tertullian, in which he expresses astonishment that the Marcionites do not sin freely, so long as they do not expect to be punished, and exclaims (to his own dishonor), "I would sin without scruple, if I believed as you do."
212 Rhodo had probably brought forward against Apelles proof from prophecy which led to the discussion of the Old Testament prophecies in general. Although Apelles had rejected Marcion's dualism, and accepted the "one principle," he still rejected the Old Testament. This is quite peculiar, and yet perfectly comprehensible; for while Marcion was indeed the only one of that age that understood Paul, yet as Harnack well says, even he misunderstood him; and neither himself nor his followers were able to rise to Paul's noble conception of the Old Testament law as a "schoolmaster to bring us to Christ," and thus a part of the good God's general plan of salvation. It took, perhaps, a born Jew, as Paul was, to reach that high conception of the law in those days. To Marcion and his followers the law seemed to stand in irreconcilable conflict with the Gospel,-Jewish law on the one side, Gospel liberty on the other,-they could not reconcile them; they must, therefore, reject the former as from another being, and not from the God of the Gospel. There was in that age no historical interpretation of the Old Testament. It must either be interpreted allegorically, and made a completely Christian book, or else it must be rejected as opposed to Christianity. Marcion and his followers, in their conception of law and Gospel as necessarily opposed, could follow only the latter course. Marcion, in his rejection of the Old Testament, proceeded simply upon dogmatic presumptions. Apelles, although his rejection of it undoubtedly originated in the same presumptions, yet subjected it to a criticism which satisfied him of the correctness of his position, and gave him a fair basis of attack. His procedure was, therefore, more truly historical than that of Marcion, and anticipated modern methods of higher criticism.
213 A true Gnostic sentiment, over against which the pious "agnosticism" of Apelles is not altogether unrefreshing. The Church did not fully conquer Gnosticism,-Gnosticism in some degree conquered the Church, and the anti-Gnostics, like Apelles, were called heretics. It was the vicious error of Gnosticism that it looked upon Christianity as knowledge, that it completely identified the two, and our existing systems of theology, some of them, testify to the fact that there are still Gnostics among us.
214 Of this Callistio we know nothing; but, as has been remarked by another, he must have been a well-known man, or Eusebius would probably have said "a certain Callistio" (see Salmon's article in Smith and Wace).
215 Upon Tatian, see Bk. IV. chap. 29, note 1.
216 Upon this work (problhmatwn biblion) see ibid.
217 Whether Rhodo fulfilled this promise we do not know. The work is mentioned by no one else, and Eusebius evidently had no knowledge of its existence, or he would have said so.
218 eij thn ecahmeron upomnhma. This work of Rhodo's, on the Hexaemeron (or six days' work), is mentioned by no one else, and no fragments of it are known to us. For a notice of other works on the same subject, see below, Bk. VI. chap. 22, note 3.
219 Hippolytus (X. 16) also mentions works of Apelles against the law and the prophets. We know of but one work of his, viz. the Syllogisms, which was devoted to the criticism of the Old Testament, and in which he worked out the antitheses of Marcion in a syllogistic form. The work is cited only by Origen (in Gen. II. 2) and by Ambrose (De Parad. V. 28), and they have preserved but a few brief fragments. It must have been an extensive work, as Ambrose quotes from the 38th book. From these fragments we can see that Apelles' criticism of the Old Testament was very keen and sagacious. For the difference between himself and Marcion in the treatment of the Old Testament, see above, note 9. The words of Eusebius, "as it seemed," show that he had not himself seen the book, as might indeed be gathered from his general account of Apelles, for which he depended solely upon secondary sources.
220 Cf. Bk. IV. chap. 7, note 3.
221 On Montanus and the Montanists, see chap. 16.
222 The separation of chaps. 14 and 15 is unfortunate. They are closely connected (oi men in chap. 14 and oi de in chap. 15), and constitute together a general introduction to the following chapters, Montanism being treated in chaps. 16 to 19, and the schism of Florinus and Blastus in chap. 20.
223 On Florinus and Blastus, see chap. 20.
224 Montanism must not be looked upon as a heresy in the ordinary sense of the term. The movement lay in the sphere of life and discipline rather than in that of theology. Its fundamental proposition was the continuance of divine revelation which was begun under the old Dispensation, was carried on in the time of Christ and his apostles, and reached its highest development under the dispensation of the Paraclete, which opened with the activity of Montanus. This Montanus was a Phrygian, who, in the latter part of the second century, began to fall into states of ecstasy and to have visions, and believed himself a divinely inspired prophet, through whom the promised Paraclete spoke, and with whom therefore the dispensation of that Paraclete began. Two noble ladies (Priscilla and Maximilla) attached themselves to Montanus, and had visions and prophesied in the same way. These constituted the three original prophets of the sect, and all that they taught was claimed to be of binding authority on all. They were quite orthodox, accepted fully the doctrinal teachings of the Catholic Church, and did not pretend to alter in any way the revelation given by Christ and his apostles. But they claimed that some things had not been revealed by them, because at that early stage the Church was not able to bear them; but that such additional revelations were now given, because the fullness of time had come which was to precede the second coming of Christ. These revelations had to do not at all with theology, but wholly with matters of life and discipline. They taught a rigid asceticism over against the growing worldliness of the Church, severe discipline over against its laxer methods, and finally the universal priesthood of believers (even female), and their right to perform all the functions of church officers, over against the growing sacerdotalism of the Church. They were thus in a sense reformers, or perhaps reactionaries is a better term, who wished to bring back, or to preserve against corruption, the original principles and methods of the Church. They aimed at a puritanic reaction against worldliness, and of a democratic reaction against growing aristocracy in the Church. They insisted that ministers were made by God alone, by the direct endowment of his Spirit in distinction from human ordination. They looked upon their prophets-supernaturally called and endowed by the Spirit-as supreme in the Church. They claimed that all gross offenders should be excommunicated, and that neither they nor the lax should ever be re-admitted to the Church. They encouraged celibacy, increased the number and severity of fasts, eschewed worldly amusements, &c. This rigid asceticism was enjoined by the revelation of the Spirit through their prophets, and was promoted by their belief in the speedy coming of Christ to set up his kingdom on earth, which was likewise prophesied. They were thus pre-Millenarians or Chiliasts.
The movement spread rapidly in Asia Minor and in North Africa, and for a time in Rome itself. It appealed very powerfully to the sterner moralists, stricter disciplinarians, and more deeply pious minds among the Christians. All the puritanically inclined schisms of this period attracted many of the better class of Christians, and this one had the additional advantage of claiming the authority of divine revelation for its strict principles. The greatest convert was Tertullian, who, in 201 or 202, attracted by the asceticism and disciplinary rigor of the sect, attached himself to it, and remained until his death its most powerful advocate. He seems to have stood at the head of a separatist congregation of Montanists in Carthage, and yet never to have been excommunicated by the Catholic Church. Montanism made so much stir in Asia Minor that synods were called before the end of the second century to consider the matter, and finally, though not without hesitation, the whole movement was officially condemned. Later, the condemnation was ratified in Rome and also in North Africa, and Montanism gradually degenerated, and finally, after two or three centuries, entirely disappeared.
But although it failed and passed away, Montanism had a marked influence on the development of the Church. In the first place, it aroused a general distrust of prophecy, and the result was that the Church soon came to the conviction that prophecy had entirely ceased. In the second place, the Church was led to see the necessity of emphasizing the historical Christ and historical Christianity over against the Montanistic claims of a constantly developing revelation, and thus to put great emphasis upon the Scripture canon. In the third place, the Church had to lay increased stress upon the organization-upon its appointed and ordained officers-over against the claims of irregular prophets who might at any time arise as organs of the Spirit. The development of Christianity into a religion of the book and of the organization was thus greatly advanced, and the line began to be sharply drawn between the age of the apostles, in which there had been direct supernatural revelations, and the later age, in which such revelations had disappeared. We are, undoubtedly, to date from this time that exalted conception of the glory of the apostolic age, and of its absolute separation from all subsequent ages, which marks so strongly the Church of succeeding centuries, and which led men to endeavor to gain apostolic authority for every advance in the constitution, in the customs, and in the doctrine of the Church. There had been little of this feeling before, but now it became universal, and it explains the great number of pseudo-apostolic works of the third and following centuries. In the fourth place, the Chiliastic ideas of Montanism produced a reaction in the Church which caused the final rejection of all grossly physical Premillenarian beliefs which up to this time had been very common. For further particulars in regard to Montanism, see the notes on this and the following chapters.
Our chief sources for a knowledge of Montanism are to be fount in the writings of Tertullian. See, also, Epiphanius, Haer. XLVIII. and XLIX., and Jerome's Epistle to Marcella (Migne, Ep. 41). The fragments from the anonymous anti-Montanistic writer quoted by Eusebius in this and the following chapter, and the fragments of Apollonius' work, quoted in chap. 18, are of the greatest importance. It is to be regretted that Eusebius has preserved for us no fragments of the anti-Montanistic writings of Apolinarius and Melito, who might have given us still earlier and more trustworthy accounts of the sect. It is probable that their works were not decided enough in their opposition to Montanism to suit Eusebius, who, therefore, chose to take his account from somewhat later, but certainly bitter enough antagonists. The works of the Montanists themselves (except those of Tertullian) have entirely perished, but a few "Oracles," or prophetic utterances, of Montanus, Priscilla, and Maximilla, have been preserved by Tertullian and other writers, and are printed by Bonwetsch, p. 197nd;200. The literature upon Montanism is very extensive. We may mention here C. W. F. Walch's Ketzerhistorie, I. p. 611-666, A. Schwegler's Der Montanismus und die christliche Kirche des zweiten Jahrh. (Tübingen, 1841), and especially G. N. Bonwetzsch's Die Geschichte des Montanismus (Erlangen, 1881), which is the best work on the subject, and indispensable to the student. Compare, also, Schaff's Ch. Hist. II. p. 415 sq., where the literature is given with great fullness, Salmon's article in the Dict. of Christ. Biog., and especially Harnack's Dogmengeschichte, I. p. 319 sq.
225 thn legomenhn kata Frugaj airesin. The heresy of Montanus was commonly called the Phrygian heresy because it took its rise in Phrygia. The Latins, by a solecism, called it the Cataphrygian heresy. Its followers received other names also, e.g. Priscillianists (from the prophetess Priscilla), and Pepuziani (from Pepuza, their headquarters). They called themselves pneumatikoi (spiritual), and the adherents of the Church yuxixoi (carnal).
226 In Bk. IV. chaps. 21, 26 and 27, and in Bk. V. chap. 5. See especially Bk. IV. chap. 27, note 1.
227 The author of this work is unknown. Jerome (de vir. ill. 37) ascribes it to Rhodo (but see above, chap. 13, note 1). It is sometimes ascribed to Asterius Urbanus, mentioned by Eusebius in §17 below, but he was certainly not its author (see below, note 27). Upon the date of the work, see below, note 32.
228 The fragments of this anonymous work are given by Routh, Rel. Sac. Vol. II. p. 183 sqq., and in English in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. VII. p. 335 sqq.
229 Aouirkie, as most of the mss. read. Others have Auirkie or ABirkie; Nicephorus, Aberkie. The name is quite commonly written Abercius in English, and the person mentioned here is identified by many scholars (among them Lightfoot) with Abercius, a prominent bishop of Hieropolis (not Hierapolis, as was formerly supposed). A spurious Life of S. Abercius is given by Simeon Metaphrastes (in Migne's Patr. Gr. CXV. 1211 sq.), which, although of a decidedly legendary character, rests upon a groundwork of fact as proved by the discovery, in recent years of an epitaph from Abercius' tomb. This Abercius was bishop in the time of Marcus Aurelius, and therefore must have held office at least twelve or fifteen years (on the date of this anonymous treatise, see below, note 32), or, if the date given by the spurious Acts for Abercius' visit to Rome be accepted (163 a.d.), at least thirty years. On Abercius and Avercius, see the exhaustive note of Lightfoot, in his Apostolic Fathers, Part II. (Ignatius and Polycarp), Vol. I. p. 477-485.
230 eij thn twn kata Miltiadhn legomenwn airesin. The occurrence of the name Miltiades, in this connection, is very puzzling, for we nowhere else hear of a Montanist Miltiades, while the man referred to here must have held a very prominent place among them. It is true that it is commonly supposed that the Muratorian Canon refers to some heretic Miltiades, but since Harnack's discussion of the matter (see especially his Texte und Untersuchungen, I. 1, p. 216, note) it is more than doubtful whether a Miltiades is mentioned at all in that document. In any case the prominent position given him here is surprising, and, as a consequence, Valesius (in his notes), Stroth, Zimmermann, Schwegler, Laemmer, and Heinichen substitute Alkibiadhn (who is mentioned in chap. 3 as a prominent Montanist) for Miltiadhn. The mss., however, are unanimous in reading Miltiadhn; and it is impossible to see how, if Alkibiadhn had originally stood in the text, Miltiadhn could have been substituted for it. It is not impossible that instead of Alcibiades in chap. 3 we should read, as Salmon suggests, Miltiades. The occurrence of the name Alcibiades in the previous sentence might explain its substitution for Miltiades immediately afterward. It is at least easier to account for that change than for the change of Alcibiades to Miltiades in the present chapter. Were Salmon's suggestion accepted, the difficulty in this case would be obviated, for we should then have a Montanist Miltiades of sufficient prominence to justify the naming of the sect after him in some quarters. The suggestion, however, rests upon mere conjecture, and it is safer to retain the reading of our mss. in both cases. Until we get more light from some quarter we must be content to let the matter rest, leaving the reason for the use of Miltiades' name in this connection unexplained. There is, of course, nothing strange in the existence of a Montanist named Miltiades; it is only the great prominence given him here which puzzles us. Upon the ecclesiastical writer, Miltiades, and Eusebius' confusion of him with Alcibiades, see chap. 17, note 1.
231 Ancyra was the metropolis and one of the three principal cities of Galatia. Quite an important town, Angora, now occupies its site.
232 Kata topon, which is the reading of two of the mss. and Nicephorus, and is adopted by Burton and Heinichen. The phrase seems harsh, but occurs again in the next paragraph. The majority of the mss. read kata Ponton, which is adopted by Valesius, Schwegler, Laemmer, and Crusè. It is grammatically the easier reading, but the reference to Pontus is unnatural in this connection, and in view of the occurrence of the same phrase, kata topon, in the next paragraph, it seems best to read thus in the present case as well.
233 Of this Zoticus we know only what is told us here. He is to be distinguished, of course, from Zoticus of Comana, mentioned in §17, below, and in chap. 18, §13.
Otrous (or Otrys, as it is sometimes written) was a small Phrygian town about two miles from Hieropolis (see W. H. Ramsay's paper, entitled Trois Villes Phrygiennes, in the Bulletin de Correspondance Hellenique, Juillet, 1882). Its bishop was present at the Council of Chalcedon, and also at the second Council of Nicaea (see Wiltsch's Geography and Statistics of the Church). We may gather from this passage that the anonymous author of this anti-Montanistic work was a presbyter (he calls Zoticus sumpresbuteroj), but we have no hint of his own city, though the fact that Avircius Marcellus, to whom the work was addressed, was from Hieropolis (see note 6), and that the anonymous companion Zoticus was from Otrous, would lead us to look in that neighborhood for the home of our author, though hardly to either of those towns (the mention of the name of the town in connection with Zoticus' name would seem to shut out the latter, and the opening sentences of the treatise would seem to exclude the former).
234 en th kata thn Frugian Musia. It is not said here that Montanus was born in Ardabau, but it is natural to conclude that he was, and so that village is commonly given as his birthplace. As we learn from this passage, Ardabau was not in Phrygia, as is often said, but in Mysia. The boundary line between the two districts was a very indefinite one, however, and the two were often confounded by the ancients themselves; but we cannot doubt in the present instance that the very exact statement of the anonymous writer is correct. Of the village of Ardabau itself we know nothing.
235 The exact date of the rise of Montanism cannot be determined. The reports which we have of the movement vary greatly in their chronology. We have no means of fixing the date of the proconsulship of the Gratus referred to here, and thus the most exact and reliable statement which we have does not help us. In his Chron. Eusebius fixes the rise of the movement in the year 172, and it is possible that this statement was based upon a knowledge of the time of Gratus' proconsulship. If so, it possesses considerable weight. The first notice we have of a knowledge of the movement in the West is in connection with the martyrs of Lyons, who in the year 177 (see Introd. to this book, note 3) were solicited to use their influence with the bishop of Rome in favor of the Montanists (see above, chap. 3, note 6). This goes to confirm the approximate accuracy of the date given by Eusebius, for we should expect that the movement cannot have attracted public notice in the East very many years before it was heard of in Gaul, the home of many Christians from Asia Minor. Epiphanius (Haer. XLVIII.) gives the nineteenth year of Antoninus Pius (156-157) as the date of its beginning, but Epiphanius' figures are very confused and contradictory, and little reliance can be placed upon them in this connection. At the same time Montanus must have begun his prophesying some years before his teaching spread over Asia Minor and began to agitate the churches and alarm the bishops, and therefore it is probable that Montanism had a beginning some years before the date given by Eusebius; in fact, it is not impossible that Montanus may have begun his work before the end of the reign of Antoninus Pius.
236 Ambition was almost universally looked upon by the Church Fathers as the occasion of the various heresies and schisms. Novatian, Donatus, and many others were accused of it by their orthodox opponents. That heretics or schismatics could be actuated by high and noble motives was to them inconceivable. We are thus furnished another illustration of their utter misconception of the nature of heresy so often referred to in these notes.
237 The fault found by the Church with Montanus' prophecy was rather because of its form than because of its substance. It was admitted that the prophecies contained much that was true, but the soberer sense of the Church at large objected decidedly to the frenzied ecstasy in which they were delivered. That a change had come over the Church in this respect since the apostolic age is perfectly clear. In Paul's time the speaking with tongues, which involved a similar kind of ecstasy, was very common; so, too, at the time the Didache was written the prophets spoke in an ecstasy (en pneumati, which can mean nothing else; cf. Harnack's edition, p. 122 sq.). But the early enthusiasm of the Church had largely passed away by the middle of the second century; and though there were still prophets (Justin, for instance, and even Clement of Alexandria knew of them), they were not in general characterized by the same ecstatic and frenzied utterance that marked their predecessors. To say that there were none such at this time would be rash; but it is plain that they had become so decidedly the exception that the revival by the Montanists of the old method on a large scale and in its extremest form could appear to the Church at large only a decided innovation. Prophecy in itself was nothing strange to them, but prophecy in this form they were not accustomed to, and did not realize that it was but a revival of the ancient form (cf. the words of our author, who is evidently quite ignorant of that form). That they should be shocked at it is not to be wondered at, and that they should, in that age, when all such manifestations were looked upon as supernatural in their origin, regard these prophets as under the influence of Satan, is no more surprising. There was no other alternative in their minds. Either the prophecies were from God or from Satan; not their content mainly, but the manner in which they were delivered aroused the suspicion of the bishops and other leaders of the Church. Add to that the fact that these prophets claimed supremacy over the constituted Church authorities, claimed that the Church must be guided by the revelations vouchsafed to women and apparently half-crazy enthusiasts and fanatics, and it will be seen at once that there was nothing left for the leaders of the Church but to condemn the movement, and pronounce its prophecy a fraud and a work of the Evil One. That all prophecy should, as a consequence, fall into discredit was natural. Clement (Strom. I. 17) gives the speaking in an ecstasy as one of the marks of a false prophet,-Montanism had evidently brought the Church to distinct consciousness on that point,-while Origen, some decades later, is no longer acquainted with prophets, and denies that they existed even in the time of Celsus (see Contra Cels.VII. 11).
238 i.e. between true and false prophets.
239 Cf. Matt. vii. 15.
240 wj agiw pneumati kai profhtikw xarismati.
241 Maximilla and Priscilla, or Prisca (mentioned in chap. 14). They were married women, who left their husbands to become disciples of Montanus, were given the rank of virgins in his church, and with him were the greatest prophets of the sect. They were regarded with the most profound reverence by all Montanists, who in many quarters were called after the name of the latter, Priscillianists. It was a characteristic of the Montanists that they insisted upon the religious equality of men and women; that they accorded just as high honor to the women as to the men, and listened to their prophecies with the same reverence. The human person was but an instrument of the Spirit, according to their view, and hence a woman might be chosen by the Spirit as his instrument just as well as a man, the ignorant just as well as the learned. Tertullian, for instance, cites, in support of his doctrine of the materiality of the soul, a vision seen by one of the female members of his church, whom he believed to be in the habit of receiving revelations from God (de anima, 9).
242 i.e. Montanus.
243 That synods should early be held to consider the subject Montanism is not at all surprising. Doubtless our author is quite correct in asserting that many such met during these years. They were probably all of them small, and only local in their character. We do not know the places or the dates of any of these synods, although the Libellus Synodicus states that one was held at Hierapolis under Apolinarius, with twenty-six bishops in attendance, and another at Anchialus under Sotas, with twelve bishops present. The authority for these synods is too late to be of much weight, and the report is just such as we should expect to have arisen upon the basis of the account of Montanism given in this chapter. It is possible, therefore, that synods were held in those two cities, but more than that cannot be said. Upon these synods, see Hefele (Conciliengesch. I. p. 83 sq.), who accepts the report of the Libellus Synodicus as trustworthy.
244 Cf. the complaint of Maximilla, quoted in §17, below. The words are employed, of course, only in the figurative sense to indicate the hostility of the Church toward the Montanists. The Church, of course, had at that time no power to put heretics to death, even if it had wished to do so. The first instance of the punishment of heresy by death occurred in 385, when the Spanish bishop Priscillian and six companions were executed at Trêves.
245 Cf.Matt. xxiii. 34.
246 There is a flat contradiction between this passage and §21, below, where it is admitted by this same author that the Montanists have had their martyrs. The sweeping statements here, considered in the light of the admission made in the other passage, furnish us with a criterion of the trustworthiness and honesty of the reports of our anonymous author. It is plain that, in his hostility to Montanism, he has no regard whatever for the truth; that his aim is to paint the heretics as black as possible, even if he is obliged to misrepresent the facts. We might, from the general tone of the fragment which Eusebius has preserved, imagine this to be so: the present passage proves it. We know, indeed, that the Montanists had man martyrs and that their principles were such as to lead them to martyrdom, even when the Catholics avoided it (cf. Tertullian's De fuga in persecutione).
247 Whether this story is an invention of our author's, or whether it was already in circulation, as he says, we cannot tell. Its utter worthlessness needs no demonstration. Even our anonymous author does not venture to call it certain.
248 epitropoj: a steward, or administrator of funds. The existence of such an officer shows that the Montanists formed a compact organization at an early date, and that much stress was laid upon it (cf. chap. 18, §2). According to Jerome (Ep. ad Marcellam; Migne, Ep. XLI. 3) the Montanists at Pepuza had three classes of officers: first, Patriarchs; second, Cenonae; third, Bishops (Habent enim primos de Pepusa Phrygiae Patriarchas: secundos, quos appellant Cenonas: atque ita in tertium, id est, pene ultimum locum Episcopi devolvuntur). The peculiar word Cenonas occurs nowhere else, so far as I am aware, but its meaning is plain enough. Whether it is merely a reproduction of the Greek oikonomoi ("administrators"), or whether it is a Latin word connected with caena, in either case the officers designated by it were economic officers, and thus performed the same class of duties as this epitropoj, Theodotus. The reliability of Jerome's report is confirmed by its agreement in this point with the account of the Anonymous. Of Theodotus himself (to be distinguished, of course, from the two Theodoti mentioned in chap. 28) we know only what is told us in this chapter and in chap. 3, above. It is plain that he was a prominent man among the early Montanists.
249 The reference here seems to be to a death like that recorded by a common tradition of Simon Magus, who by the help of demons undertook to fly up to heaven, but when in mid air fell and was killed. Whether the report in regard to Theodotus was in any way connected with the tradition of Simon's death we cannot tell, though our author can hardly have thought of it, or he would certainly have likened Theodotus' fate to that of the arch-heretic Simon, as he likened the fate of Montanus and Maximilla to that of Judas. Whatever the exact form of death referred to, there is of course no more confidence to be placed in this report than in the preceding one.
250 Of this Asterius Urbanus we know only what we can gather from this reference to him. Valesius, Tillemont, and others supposed that the words en tw autw logw tw kata Asterion Ourbanon were a scholium written on the margin of his copy by Eusebius himself or some ancient commentator to indicate the authorship of the anonymous work from which the fragments in this chapter are taken (and so in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. VII., these fragments are given as from the work of Asterius Urbanus). But Eusebius himself evidently did not know the author, and it is at any rate much easier to suppose the words a part of the text, and the work of Asterius a work which our anonymous author has been discussing and from which he quotes the words of Maximilla, just below. Accepting this most natural interpretation of the words, we learn that Asterius Urbanus was a Montanist who bad written a work in defense of that sect.
251 Cf. note 21, above.
252 Of this Bishop Zoticus we know only what is told us here and in chap. 18, §13. On the proposed identification of Zoticus and Sotas, bishop of Anchialus, see chap. 19, note 10.Comana (Komanhj, according to most of the mss. and editors; Koumanhj, according to a few of the mss. followed by Laemmer and Heinichen) was a village of Pamphylia, and is to be distinguished from Comana in Pontus and from Comana in Cappadocia (Armenia), both of which were populous and important cities.
253 Of this Julian we know nothing more. His city was Apamea Cibotus or Ciboti, which, according to Wiltsch, was a small town on Mount Signia in Pisidia, to be distinguished from the important Phrygian Apamea Cibotus on the Maeander. Whether Wiltsch has good grounds for this distinction I am unable to say. It would certainly seem natural to think in the present case of Apamea on the Maeander, inasmuch as it is spoken of without any qualifying phrase, as if there could be no doubt about its identity.
254 Themiso is mentioned again in chap. 18 as a confessor, and as the author of a catholic epistle. It is plain that he was a prominent man among the Montanists in the time of our anonymous author, that is, after the death of Montanus himself; and it is quite likely that he was, as Salmon suggests, the head of the sect.
255 This gives us a clear indication of the date of the composition of this anonymous work. The thirteen years must fall either before the wars which began in the reign of Septimius Severus, or after their completion. The earliest possible date in the latter case is 232, and this is certainly much too late for the composition of this work, which speaks of Montanism more than once as a recent thing, and which it seems clear from other indications belongs rather to the earlier period of the movement. If we put its composition before those wars, we cannot place it later than 192, the close of the reign of Commodus. This would push the date of Maximilla's death back to 179, which though it seems rather early, is not at all impossible. The period from about 179 to 192 might very well be called a time of peace by the Christians; for no serious wars occurred during that interval, and we know that the Christians were left comparatively undisturbed throughout the reign of Commodus.