Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

Get access

Priscillian of Avila
(2,765 words)

Priscillian of Avila (d. 385 or 386 CE; Priscillianism) was an educated Spanish layman of noble descent, who preached ascetic holiness in the second half of the 4th century CE. 1 Pet 1:22, “we have purified our souls to obey the faith through the Spirit,” is the most cited text in his Tractates. Priscillian practiced and promoted celibacy, poverty, temporary anachōrēseis (“withdrawals”) to spiritual retreats during church holidays, vegetarianism, and the gift of “prophecy” into the deeper sen…

Cite this page
Toom, Tarmo, “Priscillian of Avila”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 06 June 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

▲   Back to top   ▲