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(154 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard (Mainz)
[German version] Christian teacher from Asia Minor, active in Rome and North Africa (?) between 190 and 220. The main source is Tertullian ( Adversus Praxean, after 210). P. convinced Bishop Victor [5] of Rome to exclude Montanism from Church fellowship (Tert. Adversus Praxean 1,4 f.). As a proponent of modalist monarchianism, he taught the identity of Father and Son so as to preserve the unity of God (ibid. 2,1.3; 13,1; 23,7). P. explained the relationship between the divine and human natures in Christ by equating God …

Sabellius, Sabellianism

(208 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard (Mainz)
[German version] After having spent a number of years in Rome, the Christian theologian S. (perhaps originally from Libya) was excommunicated by bishop Callistus (217-222) because of his teachings on the nature of God. Little is known about the rest of his life. S. was a leading Modalist (Modalism). Like Noetus before him, he equated God the Father with God the Son in order to maintain monotheism (Monarchianism). It was probably only later on that the designation of God as Son-Father ( hyiopátōr) and the thesis that God acted in the history of salvation successively in the 'm…


(521 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard (Mainz)
[German version] The term monarchianism is derived from the word  monarchiani (Tert. Adversus Praxean 10,1), apparently a neologism of Tertullianus's. It denotes the position of Christian theologians of the 2nd and 3rd cents., who refused to interpret Christ as a pre-existing logos of God, in order to circumvent the assumption of a differentiated deity and a consequent implication of ditheism (the belief in two gods), and thus to protect the monarchia (personal rule of God), i.e. strict monotheism. Monarchianism was widespread among intellectuals, but also among o…


(39 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard (Mainz)
[German version] The term modalism, which was used probably as early as the second half of the 17th cent., was finally established as a subcategory of Monarchianism by the work of A. von Harnack. May, Gerhard (Mainz)