Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes in One). Amazon Kindle Edition, 2014.
Volume 2, Ante-Nicene Christianity A.D. 100-325, “Chapter 10. Montanism.” Sections 109-111, Loc. 17486-17654.
§ 110. External History of Montanism.
Schaff, in considering Montanism, classifies it in somewhat pragmatic and tactile terms. “Montanism was not, originally, a departure from the faith, but a morbid overstraining of the practical morality and discipline of the early church .It was an excessive supernaturalism and puritanism against Gnostic rationalism and Catholic laxity” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 17532). The main problem Schaff sees with it is its attempt to be, if anything, more Christian than the Bible would endorse.
The Montanist movement came from some of the remoter parts of Phrygia (Schaff 2014, Loc. 17533), about the middle of the second century. Montanus was a person who experienced ecstatic phenomena. He may have had a background in non-Christian ecstatic practices. He was known to have two prophetesses in his company, named Priscilla and Maximilla (Schaff 2014, Loc. 17538). Together they announced the coming of the Holy Spirit and the millennium. Schaff compares the phenomena which accompanied their work to the ecstatic experiences of the early Quakers (Schaff 2014, Loc. 17544). The Montanists considerd themselves “spiritual” (pneumatikon) rather than “psychic” or “carnal” (psykikon) (Schaff 2014, Loc. 17549).
The bishop of Asia Minor condemned Montanism as demonic, conducting exorcism and cutting Montanists off from the Church (Schaff 2014, Loc. 17549). The opposition on both sides tended to magnify their differences. However, it does seem clear that the Montanists departed from historic Christian faith and practice. Some of the very rigorous practices did adhere to the Church, but not all (Schaff 2014, Loc. 17560).
Montanism did gain a strong foothold in North Africa, where it had a strong influence on many, including Tertullian, by about 201 or 202 (Schaff 2014, Loc. 17566).
Schaff notes that the Montanist movement existed as a separate sect through several centuries, up to the sixth century. It was repeatedly condemned by catholic thinkers but remained a significant force until the rise of Islam.