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p. 235 Chapter XVIII.—The Manner in which Apollonius refuted the Phrygians, and the Persons 1617 whom he Mentions.

1. As the so-called Phrygian heresy 1618 was still flourishing in Phrygia in his time, Apollonius 1619 also, an ecclesiastical writer, undertook its refutation, and wrote a special work against it, correcting in detail the false prophecies current among them and reproving the life of the founders of the heresy. But hear his own words respecting Montanus:

2. “His actions and his teaching show who this new teacher is. This is he who taught the dissolution of marriage; 1620 who made laws for fasting; 1621 who named Pepuza and Tymion, 1622 small towns in Phrygia, Jerusalem, wishing to gather people to them from all directions; who appointed collectors of money; 1623 who contrived the receiving of gifts under the name of offerings; who provided salaries for those who preached his doctrine, that its teaching might prevail through gluttony.” 1624

3. He writes thus concerning Montanus; and a little farther on he writes as follows concerning his prophetesses: “We show that these first prophetesses themselves, as soon as they were filled with the Spirit, abandoned their husbands. How falsely therefore they speak who call Prisca a virgin.” 1625

4. Afterwards he says: “Does not all Scripture seem to you to forbid a prophet to receive gifts and money? 1626 When therefore I see the prophetess receiving gold and silver and costly garments, how can I avoid reproving her?”

5. And again a little farther on he speaks thus concerning one of their confessors:

“So also Themiso, 1627 who was clothed with plausible covetousness, could not endure the sign of confession, but threw aside bonds for an abundance of possessions. Yet, though he should have been humble on this account, he dared to boast as a martyr, and in imitation of the apostle, he wrote a certain catholic 1628 epistle, p. 236 to instruct those whose faith was better than his own, contending for words of empty sound, and blaspheming against the Lord and the apostles and the holy Church.”

6. And again concerning others of those honored among them as martyrs, he writes as follows:

“Not to speak of many, let the prophetess herself tell us of Alexander, 1629 who called himself a martyr, with whom she is in the habit of banqueting, and who is worshiped 1630 by many. We need not mention his robberies and other daring deeds for which he was punished, but the archives 1631 contain them.

7. Which of these forgives the sins of the other? Does the prophet the robberies of the martyr, or the martyr the covetousness of the prophet? For although the Lord said, ‘Provide neither gold, nor silver, neither two coats,’ 1632 these men, in complete opposition, transgress in respect to the possession of the forbidden things. For we will show that those whom they call prophets and martyrs gather their gain not only from rich men, but also from the poor, and orphans, and widows.

8. But if they are confident, let them stand up and discuss these matters, that if convicted they may hereafter cease transgressing. For the fruits of the prophet must be tried; ‘for the tree is known by its fruit.’ 1633

9. But that those who wish may know concerning Alexander, he was tried by Æmilius Frontinus, 1634 proconsul at Ephesus; not on account of the Name, 1635 but for the robberies which he had committed, being already an apostate. 1636 Afterwards, having falsely declared for the name of the Lord, he was released, having deceived the faithful that were there. 1637 And his own parish, from which he came, did not receive him, because he was a robber. 1638 Those who wish to learn about him have the public records 1639 of Asia. And yet the prophet with whom he spent many years knows nothing about him! 1640

10. Exposing him, through him we expose also the pretense 1641 of the prophet. We could show the same thing of many others. But if they are confident, let them endure the test.”

11. Again, in another part of his work he speaks as follows of the prophets of whom they boast:

“If they deny that their prophets have received gifts, let them acknowledge this: that if they are convicted of receiving them, they are not prophets. And we will bring a multitude of proofs of this. But it is necessary that all the fruits of a prophet should be examined. Tell me, does a prophet dye his hair? 1642 Does a prophet stain his eyelids? 1643 Does a prophet delight in adornment? Does a prophet play with tables and dice? Does a prophet lend on usury? Let them confess whether these things are lawful or not; but I will show that they have been done by them.” 1644

12. This same Apollonius states in the same work that, at the time of his writing, it was the fortieth year since Montanus had begun his pretended prophecy. 1645

13. And he says also that Zoticus, who was mentioned by the former writer, 1646 when Maximilla was pretending to prophesy in Pepuza, resisted her and endeavored to refute the spirit that was working in her; but was prevented by those who agreed with her. He mentions also a certain Thraseas 1647 among the martyrs of that time.

He speaks, moreover, of a tradition that the Saviour commanded his apostles not to depart from Jerusalem for twelve years. 1648 He uses testimonies also from the Revelation of John, 1649 and p. 237 he relates that a dead man had, through the Divine power, been raised by John himself in Ephesus. 1650 He also adds other things by which he fully and abundantly exposes the error of the heresy of which we have been speaking. These are the matters recorded by Apollonius.



Or events (τίνων).


On the name, see chap. 16, note 2.


Of this Apollonius we know little more than what Eusebius tells us in this chapter. The author of Prædestinatus (in the fifth century) calls him bishop of Ephesus, but his authority is of no weight. Jerome devotes chap. 40 of his de vir. ill. to Apollonius, but it is clear that he derives his knowledge almost exclusively from Eusebius. He adds the notice, however, that Tertullian replied to Apollonius’ work in the seventh book of his own work, de Ecstasi (now lost). The character of Apollonius’ work may be gathered from the fragments preserved by Eusebius in this chapter. It was of the same nature as the work of the anonymous writer quoted in chap. 16, very bitter in tone and not over-scrupulous in its statements. Apollonius states (see in §12, below) that he wrote the work forty years after the rise of Montanism. If we accepted the Eusebian date for its beginning (172), this would bring us down to 212, but (as remarked above, in chap. 16, note 12) Montanism had probably begun in a quiet way sometime before this, and so Apollonius’ forty years are perhaps to be reckoned from a somewhat earlier date. His mention of “the prophetess” as still living (in §6, below) might lead us to think that Maximilia was still alive when he wrote; but when the anonymous wrote she was already dead, and the reasons for assigning the latter to a date as early as 192 are too strong to be set aside. We must therefore suppose Apollonius to be referring to some other prophetess well known in his time. That there were many such prophetesses in the early part of the third century is clear from the works of Tertullian. Jerome (ibid.) states that an account of the death of Montanus and his prophetesses by hanging was contained in Apollonius’ work, but it has been justly suspected that he is confusing the work of the anonymous, quoted in chap. 16, above, with the work of Apollonius, quoted in this chapter. The fragments of Apollonius’ work, preserved by Eusebius, are given, with a commentary, in Routh’s Rel. Sac. I. p. 467 sq., and an English translation in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, VIII. p. 775 sq.


We are not to gather from this that the Montanists forbade marriage. They were, to be sure, decidedly ascetic in their tendencies, and they did teach the unlawfulness of second marriages,—which had long been looked upon with disfavor in many quarters, but whose lawfulness the Church had never denied,—and magnified the blessedness of the single state; but beyond this they did not go, so far as we are able to judge. Our chief sources for the Montanistic view of marriage are Tertullian’s works ad Uxorem, de Pudicit., de Monogamia, de Exhort. ad castitat., and Epiphanius’ Hær. XLVIII. 9.


One great point of dispute between the Montanists and the Catholics was the subject of fasts (cf. Hippolytus, VIII. 12, X. 21, who makes it almost the only ground of complaint against the Montanists). The Montanist prophetesses ordained two new fasts of a week each in addition to the annual paschal fast of the Church; and the regulations for these two weeks were made very severe. Still further they extended the duration of the regular weekly (Wednesday and Friday) fasts, making them cover the whole instead of only a part of the day. The Catholics very strenuously opposed these ordinances, not because they were opposed to fasting (many of them indulged extensively in the practice), but because they objected to the imposition of such extra fasts as binding upon the Church. They were satisfied with the traditional customs in this matter, and did not care to have heavier burdens imposed upon the Christians in general than their fathers had borne. Our principal sources for a knowledge of the dispute between the Montanists and Catholics on this subject are Tertullian’s de Jejuniis; Epiphanius, Hær. XLVIII. 8; Jerome, Ep. ad Marcellam (Migne, Ep. XLI. 3), Comment. in Matt. c. 9, vers. 15; and Theodoret, Hær. Fab. III. 2.


Pepuza was an obscure town in the western part of Phrygia; Tymion, otherwise unknown, was probably situated in the same neighborhood. Pepuza was early made, and long continued, the chief center—the Jerusalem—of the sect, and even gave its name to the sect in many quarters. Harnack has rightly emphasized the significance of this statement of Apollonius, and has called attention to the fact that Montanus’ original idea must have been the gathering of the chosen people from all the world into one region, that they might form one fold, and freed from all the political and social relations in which they had hitherto lived might await the coming of the Lord, who would speedily descend, and set up his kingdom in this new Jerusalem. Only after this idea had been proved impracticable did Montanism adapt itself to circumstances and proceed to establish itself in the midst of society as it existed in the outside world. That Montanus built upon the Gospel of John, and especially upon chaps. x. and xvii., in this original attempt of his, is perfectly plain (cf. Harnack’s Dogmengeschichte, I. p. 319 and 323. With this passage from Apollonius, compare also Epiphanius, Hær. XLVIII. 14 and XLIX. 1., and Jerome Ep. ad Marcellam).


This appointment of economic officers and the formation of a compact organization were a part of the one general plan, referred to in the previous note, and must have marked the earliest years of the sect. Later, when it was endeavoring to adapt itself to the catholic Church, and to compromise matters in such a way as still to secure recognition from the Church, this organization must have been looked upon as a matter of less importance, and indeed probably never went far beyond the confines of Phrygia. That it continued long in that region, however, is clear from Jerome’s words in his Epistle to Marcella already referred to. Compare also chap 16, note 25.


There can be little doubt that the Church teachers and other officers were still supported by voluntary contributions, and hence Apollonius was really scandalized at what he considered making merchandise of spiritual things (cf. the Didache, chaps. XI. and XII.; but even in the Didache we find already a sort of stated salary provided for the prophets; cf. chap. XII.). For him to conclude, however, from the practice instituted by the Montanists in accordance with their other provisions for the formation of a compact organization, that they were avaricious and gluttonous, is quite unjustifiable, just as much so as if our salaried clergy to-day should be accused, as a class, of such sins.


See chap. 16, note 18.


See note 8.


On Themiso, see chap. 16, note 31.


καθολικὴν ἐπιστολήν. Catholic in the sense in which the word is used of the epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude; that is, general, addressed to no particular church. The epistle is no longer extant. Its “blasphemy” against the Lord and his apostles lay undoubtedly in its statement of the fundamental doctrine of the Montanists, that the age of revelation had not ceased, but that through the promised Paraclete revelations were still given, which supplemented or superseded those granted the apostles by Christ.


This fragment gives us our only information in regard to this Alexander. That there may be some truth in the story told by Apollonius cannot be denied. It is possible that Alexander was a bad man, and that the Montanists had been deceived in him, as often happens in all religious bodies. Such a thing might much more easily happen after the sect had been for a number of years in a flourishing condition than in its earlier years; and the exactness of the account, and the challenge to disprove it, would seem to lend it some weight. At the same time Apollonius is clearly as unprincipled and dishonest a writer as the anonymous, and hence little reliance can be placed upon any of his reports to the discredit of the Montanists. If the anonymous made so many accusations out of whole cloth, Apollonius may have done the same in the present instance; and the fact that many still “worshiped” him would seem to show that Apollonius’ accusations, if they possessed any foundation, were at any rate not proven.


A very common accusation brought against various sects. Upon the significance of it, see Harnack, Dogmengeschichte, I. p. 82, note 2.


πισθόδομος, originally the back chamber of the old temple of Athenæ on the Acropolis at Athens, where the public treasure was kept. It then came to be used of the inner chamber of any temple where the public treasure was kept, and in the present instance is used of the apartment which contained the public records or archives. Just below, Apollonius uses the phrase δημόσιον ἀρχεῖον, in referring to the same thing.


Matt. 10:9, 10.


Matt. xii. 33.


We know, unfortunately, nothing about this proconsul, and hence have no means of fixing the date of this occurrence.


i.e. of Christ.




εἶτα ἐπιψευσ€μενος τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ κυρίου ἀπολέλυται πλανήσας τοὺς ἐκεῖ πιστούς. The meaning seems to be that while in prison he pretended to be a Christian, and thus obtained the favor of the brethren, who procured his release by using their influence with the judge.


We have no means of controlling the truth of this statement.


δημόσιον ἀρχεῖον.


ν ὁ προφήτης συνόντα πολλοῖς žτεσιν ἀγνοεῖ, as is read by all the mss., followed by the majority of the editors. Heinichen reads ὁ προφήτης συνὼν πολλοις žτεσιν ἀγνοεῖ, but the emendation is quite unnecessary. The γνοεῖ implies ignorance of the man’s true character; although with him so many years, he knows nothing about him, is ignorant of his true character! The sentence is evidently ironical.


τὴν ὑπόστασιν






Knowing what we do of the asceticism and the severe morality of the Montanists, we can look upon the implications of this passage as nothing better than baseless slanders. That there might have been an individual here and there whose conduct justified this attack cannot be denied, but to bring such accusations against the Montanists in general was both unwarranted and absurd, and Apollonius cannot but have been aware of the fact. His language is rather that of a bully or braggadocio who knows the untruthfulness of his statements, than of a man conscious of his own honesty and of the reliability of his account.


On the date of Apollonius’ work, see above, note 3.


See chap. 16, §17.


This Thraseas is undoubtedly to be identified with Thraseas, “bishop and martyr of Eumenia,” mentioned by Polycrates, as quoted in chap. 24, below. We know no more about him than is told us there.


Clement (Strom. VI. 5) records the same tradition, quoting it from the Preaching of Peter, upon which work, see Bk. III. chap. 3, note 8, above.


Compare Eusebius’ promise in Bk. III. chap. 24, §18, and see note 21 on that chapter.


No one else, so far as I am aware, records this tradition, but it is of a piece with many others in regard to John which were afloat in the early Church.

Next: Chapter XIX