Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Confession Stele and Montanism

In Central and Western Anatolia people were noted for their strict morality. Something that was more developed in their religion was the notion of human deeds offending the gods and incurring divine punishment from the gods. An inscription that is particular to this area is something known as a "confession stele" which recounts what a deity has done because of sin. For instance, one inscription reads: "To Zeus Sabazios and Mother Hipta; Diokles son of Trophimos: because I made an attempt on the gods' doves (doves in the sacred temple), I was punished in my eyes and inscribed an account of the gods' power."(1)

Aside from having something in common with the Judeo-Christian notion of sin, this is particularly interesting because this is the area in which Montanism originated and thrived in the 2nd Century CE. One wonders whether this strict morality was a factor in the development of Montanism.

(1)As quoted in Rives, James B. Religion in the Roman Empire, pg. 62.

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