A Study in Anti-Gnostic Polemics: Irenaeus, Hippolytus and by Gerard Vallee

By Gerard Vallee

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2 5 7 , holds that the first antimontanist synods (not identical with the earliest ant i montanist literature) met around 200. Excursus 37 others we re engaged wish to leave in debating about Montanisml^. it to others to speak Did he against the Montanists ? We roust Montanist look movement more close ly itself Irenaeus remained si lent. if the intense world. in prophetism, belief the nature to of the understand why continuing or reviving early Montanist in at want There is wide agreement today on the nature of the movement : Christian we the prophecy proximity centered of the end around of the The accompanying eschatological exaltation resulted a program in which the experience of the Spirit and the movement has moral, rigorism occupied an important p l a c e ^ .

C. Frend, 'Heresy and Schism as Social and National Movements', Studies in Church History 9, 1972, pp. 37-56. M. Jones ('Popular', p. 295) writes about later heres ies: 'Modern h istorians are retrojecting into the past the sentiments of the present age when they argue that mere relig ious or doctrinal dissension cannot have generated such violent and enduring animos ity as that evinced by the Donatists, Arians, or Monophys ites, and that the real moving force behind these movements must have been national or class feeling '.

3 ^See verdict. Widmann ('Irenaus', 35 For important elements see Brox, Offenbarung, passim. p. of 171) that for a negative self-understanding 3 ^F. Wisse, 1 The Nag Hammadi L i bra ry and the Heresiologists', VC 25, 19 71, pp. 20 5-23, thinks that d iscourse and writings from the point of view of doctrine, while they propound rather a sort of 'mystical poetry' (p. 2 22). Further, Irenaeus would have too readily assumed that uni ty in doctrine is the only kind of unity. 'By taking the differences in mythological detai1 as doctrinal differences, Gnosticism came to look like an absurdly fragmented movement1 (p.

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