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Montanists And Flight During Persecution

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the relevant extant literary and epigraphic data concerning 'flight during persecution' and, its corollary, 'open profession of Christianity' to determine whether or not Montanist attitudes and practices related to these matters were unique or, at least, differed from the attitudes and practices of 'mainstream' Christians in the pre-Constantinian era. Any discussion of Montanist attitudes to flight during persecution must commence with a study of Tertullian. In Tertullian's opinion, not all of the advantages of martyrdom belonged to the future. Even while in prison, martyrs were able to bestow peace on those who had not been able to find it in the church. In short, in the period before he was influenced by the New Prophecy, Tertullian understood martyrdom to be the supreme means by which Christians could conquer Satan: even if they had given in to the devil, apostates could redeem themselves by dying for the faith.

Keywords: Christianity; martyrdom; Montanist; New Prophecy; persecution; pre-Constantinian era; Satan; Tertullian



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