The Journal of Ecclesiastical History

Articles

Was Montanism a Jewish-Christian Heresy?

J. Massingberd Forda1

a1 Assistant Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame, Indiana

The origins of the ‘montanist’ heresy are far from clear. This much is known, that it began in Phrygia (or Mysia) and that it must have originated before 172, when Montanus had his visions, and before 179, when the prophetess Maximilla is said to have died. It is also conjectured that ‘Montanism’, a name which does not occur before the fourth century, may have been a title attached to the heresy later, and that the earlier names ‘the New Prophecy’ and the ‘Phrygian or Kataphrygian heresy’ are more exact connotations for the movement. Of the two names I should prefer the first, for ‘the New Prophecy’ does not seem to have been a heresy in its beginnings: doctrinal aberrations came only in the later centuries. In view of these facts it is legitimate to ask whether ‘the New Prophecy’ was a Judeo-Christian group which broke off from the Church and still later became heretical, that is, that the movement existed in essence before the time of Montanus and his ladies but that it was only in his day that it became a separate movement.