The Blood Libel Against the Montanists

The Blood Libel Against the Montanists THE BLOOD LIBEL AGAINST THE MONTANISTS BY JAMES B. RIVES In the anti-heretical treatises of the late fourth and early fifth cen- turies, we repeatedly come across the charge that the Montanists, or one of their subsects, engaged in a wicked and horrific rite.' Cyril of Jerusalem was the earliest extant writer to record this story, in his catechetical lecture on the Holy Spirit. In order to demonstrate the false teachings of the heretics on this topic, he briefly reviews some of the main groups. The Montanists, he says, in addition to their blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, 'slaughter the wretched little children of women and cut them up into unlawful meat for the sake of what among them are called mysteries'.' In the 370s, Epiphanius recorded a slightly dif- ferent version. Although he is uncertain which subsect of the Mon- tanists is in question, he nevertheless asserts that in one of them 'people say a terrible and unlawful deed is done. In a certain festival they take a child, a mere infant, and pierce him throughout his body with bronze needles and so procure his blood for themselves, for the performance of a sacrifice'.' Somewhat later, Philastrius http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Vigiliae Christianae Brill

The Blood Libel Against the Montanists

Vigiliae Christianae, Volume 50 (2): 117 – Jan 1, 1996

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 1996 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0042-6032
eISSN
1570-0720
D.O.I.
10.1163/157007296X00021
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

THE BLOOD LIBEL AGAINST THE MONTANISTS BY JAMES B. RIVES In the anti-heretical treatises of the late fourth and early fifth cen- turies, we repeatedly come across the charge that the Montanists, or one of their subsects, engaged in a wicked and horrific rite.' Cyril of Jerusalem was the earliest extant writer to record this story, in his catechetical lecture on the Holy Spirit. In order to demonstrate the false teachings of the heretics on this topic, he briefly reviews some of the main groups. The Montanists, he says, in addition to their blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, 'slaughter the wretched little children of women and cut them up into unlawful meat for the sake of what among them are called mysteries'.' In the 370s, Epiphanius recorded a slightly dif- ferent version. Although he is uncertain which subsect of the Mon- tanists is in question, he nevertheless asserts that in one of them 'people say a terrible and unlawful deed is done. In a certain festival they take a child, a mere infant, and pierce him throughout his body with bronze needles and so procure his blood for themselves, for the performance of a sacrifice'.' Somewhat later, Philastrius

Journal

Vigiliae ChristianaeBrill

Published: Jan 1, 1996

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