Paul Williams rightly recognized this and I appreciate his honesty here. Paul provided the pages from Robert Grant’s article, showing Brown’s mistake. Robert Grant did not write what Jonathan Brown claims.
Paul later contacted Dr. Brown, asking about his mistake, and it seems Dr. Brown still would not admit the error of saying that Christians in the second century thought the Paraclete was a human being. Dr. Brown admitted the Papias reference was wrong, but still stuck to his claim that ancient Christians thought the Paraclete could be a human being. (see the updates at both blog articles. First one: “Christians at the time of Papias believed the Paraclete to be a human being, – a prophet, and not the Holy Spirit”
So I responded:
Even with the update, Brown is still wrong, as Montanus and his 2 women disciples, Maximillia and Pricilla, did not believe in a human Paraclete, but rather that the Paraclete was the Holy Spirit, a spirit and that He was indwelling them and speaking through them in tongues, prophesies, and ecstatic utterances. They connected this to the gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians chapters 12 and 14. They were like the first Charismatics.
This is standard church history knowledge.
To try and make a point out of this as somehow parallel with Muhammad as a human 600 years later, claiming to be the paraclete (Ahmad, Surah 61:6) is a big big stretch.
There is no textual variants in the manuscript tradition; no evidence whatsoever even close to periklutos, which is what is required to be close to the meaning of the word “Ahmad” (praised one).
Paul made another blog post with updated information: Dr. Brown sets the record straight
So I repeated the same basic information, pointing out Brown’s mistake, at that post also.
Robert Grant is a recognized church historian.
Montanus and 2 women with him, Maximillia and Priscilla were like the first Charismatics – ( In Phrygia, around 150s-170s AD) they believed they filled with the Holy Spirit (the Paraclete) and spoke in tongues and went into ecstatic utterances and spoke prophesies about the end times. (see 1 Corinthians chapters 12 and 14) (speaking about the age of the Millennium, as in Revelation 20).
they believed they were filled with the Spirit and spoke prophesies and spoke in tongues; they were not claiming to be humans who were the Paraclete, they were claiming that the Spirit, the Paraclete was speaking in them and through them. Since there were three of them, they did not believe that one was the Paraclete Himself as a human, but that the Paraclete is a spirit who works in them and speaks through them spiritual prophesies and tongues.
This is not a very good parallel that Brown is trying to make to Muhammad, who claimed to be a human prophet/apostle.
Jonathan Brown is basically saying that there are those in the early Christian Church who believed that the paraclete was not the Holy Spirit but rather another person. [Patrice wrote, trying to defend Dr. Brown]
but this is not what Montanus, Maximillia, and Priscilla believed. they still believed the Paraclete was a spirit, namely the Holy Spirit, speaking through them in prophesies and tongues and ecstatic utterances. They put it together with 1 Corinthians chapters 12 and 14 and the “gifts of the Holy Spirit”.
Brown is still wrong, because they did not believe there was a human who was a Paraclete (like the way Muhammad was just a human who claimed to be the final prophet or apostle) – rather they saw the Paraclete as the Holy Spirit speaking through them, very much like modern Charismatics do today.
Later, even Patrice admitted I was right, as she did further research on the Montanus movement in ancient church history:
I had not seen your initial reply until after i posted mine so whoops!
After reading up a little about the Montanists and their beliefs I have to agree with you Ken that they still believed that the Paraclete was the Holy Spirit and that the Spirit gave them the ability to prophecy even such ‘revelations’ supercede the words of Jesus!
Although there wasn’t much information about them outside of the rebuttals of the Church Fathers so i am hesitant to think we know everything about them.
BOOM to me! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!!!
But, Dr. Brown still maintained that early Christians thought the Paraclete was a human being and that that is relevant to Muhammad’s claim of 600 years later.
And as of this point, Paul Williams wrote that he would not follow up to Dr. Brown.
No I wont be following this up any further.
That is not good. The Muslim scholar needs to be accurate about church history.