The world's leading expert on Montanism, William Tabbernee in Prophets and Gravestones has provided an excellent a definitive "narrative history" of this enigmatic and prophetic movement. As a narrative history, this book tells the story of a man named Montanus who came from Phrygia in Asia Minor and who started, around 165 A.D. a movement which bears his own name called Montanism. Montanus attracted his following by declaring that he had been "filled with the Spirit" and that he knew Christ to be returning to quite soon to the city of Pepouza, located in the modern nation of Turkey. While distinct from the Christianity of the day, this was by no means a sect or heretical movement, and was embraced eminent Christians of the day including Priscilla, Maximilla, and the great Latin father and theologian Tertullian. As a narrative history, this book will make excellent reading for anyone interested in Church History. Its style emphasizes the story, and its characters, but does not sacrifice scholarly precision, nor acumen. This is an excellent reading selection for any course in Early Christianity, and with its combination of peculiar historical circumstance, and controversial theology, will no doubt generate energetic discussion.
Before the great councils of Christendom and before there were centers of ecclesiastical authority that spoke on behalf of the widely scattered churches found throughout the Roman Empire, how was one to determine what teachings were true and which prophets and prophetesses were authentic?
Montanism is named for its first proponent, a certain Montanus from Phrygia in Asia Minor in what is today Turkey who began his "spirit-filled movement" within the area sometime around 165 CE. He was shortly joined by two women, Priscilla and Maximilla. All proclaimed that they were filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied about the return of Jesus Christ as immanent and that the New Jerusalem would be established in the city of Pepouza in Phrygia.
With his profound knowledge of the group known at that time as "The New Prophecy" William Tabbernee dramatically tells the story of the followers of Montanus, Maximilla, and Priscilla, as well as of those other Christians, some well known such as Tertullian, most not, who followed their teachings for centuries thereafter. Replete with vivid descriptions, photographs, and drawings illustrating the places and events surrounding these men and women, and with maps to orient the reader in the geography of its origins, this book provides an articulate, erudite, and thoroughly fascinating tour-de-force of what has been labeled a Christian heresy almost from its inception.
Professor Tabbernee has prepared a series of study questions for each chapter of this engaging book. These questions are suitable for use in a variety of settings, including book clubs, discussion groups, and formal undergraduate and master's level courses. While they are copyrighted they have been made available without cost and can be downloaded to your computer as a PDF file from the book's web page on Baker Academic's site.
William Tabbernee (PhD, University of Melbourne) is the former president and Stephen J. England Distinguished Professor of the History of Christianity at Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A world-renowned specialist on Montanism, he led an international team of archaeologists and historians that discovered the long-lost site of Pepouza, Montanism's most holy city. He is the author of Montanist Inscriptions: Epigraphic Sources Illustrating the History of Montanism, Fake Prophecy and Polluted Sacraments: Ecclesiastical and Imperial Reactions to Montanism, and (with Peter Lampe) Pepouza and Tymion: The Discovery and Archaeological Exploration of a Lost Ancient City and an Imperial Estate.
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