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Maximilla was a prophet and an early advocate of Montanism, a heretical Christian sect founded in the third century A.D. by Montanus. Some scholars believe that Maximilla and Priscilla, another prophet, were actually the co-founders of Montanism.[1] Other scholars dismiss this as unproven.[2] Either way, it generally agreed upon that Maximilla and Priscilla provided the primary prophetic content and some of the oracles for the movement.[3]

According to the anti-Montanist polemic written by an anonymous author and preserved in EusebiusEcclesiastical History, Maximilla and Priscilla were pawns of the devil who spoke and acted in “a frenzied manner.”[3] According to their followers, Maximilla and Priscilla were prophetesses like early Christian prophetesses.[3]

Nothing is known of Maximilla’s family background. Perhaps she was a descendant of Roman citizens resident in Central Phrygia or its vicinity.[4] According to Ecclesiastical History, Maximilla and Priscilla had been married but “left their husbands the moment they were filled with the spirit.”

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  1. ^ Jensen, Anne (1992). Gottes selbstbewußte Töchter : Frauenemanzipation im frühen Christentum?. Freiburg [u.a.]: Herder. ISBN 3-451-22597-2. 
  2. ^ Trevett, Christine (1996). Montanism : gender, authority, and the new prophecy (1st paperback ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-41182-3. 
  3. ^ a b c Tabbernee, William (1997). Montanist inscriptions and testimonia : epigraphic sources illustrating the history of montanism (1st ed.). Macon, Ga.: Mercer Univ. Press. ISBN 0-86554-521-9. 
  4. ^ Klawiter, Frederick Charles (1975). The new prophecy in early Christianity: the origin, nature, and development of Montanism, A.D. 165-220. Chicago, Ill: University of Chicago.