History of Glossolalia: Patristic Citation

How the primary sourcebooks have severely neglected ecclesiastical literature in documenting the christian doctrine of tongues and the reasons why this happened.

There is a considerable amount of literature devoted by many Christian writers over the first thousand years since the inception of the Church on this topic. However, many are not popularly available in English. They remain in their Greek, Latin, Syriac and likely many more original forms, waiting to be rediscovered.

In comparing modern commentaries and dictionaries that Bible students commonly utilize, a pattern is found. The majority of church writings available are severely under-utilized and left uncited. Some very important and critical passages are entirely ignored. The ones chosen are very selective and weak. The majority cited in major dictionaries do not even contain the word γλῶσσα. This omission is what has led to the current theological controversies about speaking in tongues.

The remainder of this article is to prove this assertion, which is not very difficult to accomplish.

If the latest generations had access to this literature in their modern language, then the tongues argument would be significantly different. The Gift of Tongues Project demonstrates that the arguments from both the pro and con camps are based on ignorance of ecclesiastical literature.

The selective and inaccurate use of Church writings make the topic appear historically obscure. The lack of comprehensiveness naturally produces an outcome of glossolalia.

Glossolalia may not necessarily be the wrong the conclusion, but it has omitted essential ecclesiastical writings in the process.

Lack of Patristic Reference in the Common Dictionaries

Moulton and Milligan’s, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, alluded to the fact that the tongues in Acts were ecstatic. Not a single reference was from the Church Fathers.1

Walter Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament tried to develop a connection between hellenistic ecstasy and christian tongues. The author or the revisionist of this dictionary used only one patristic writing to emphasize the concept, and it is a weak one – Origen’s writing, Against Celsus.2

Thayer’s A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Being Grimm’s Wilke’s Clavis Nove Testamenti declared the Corinthian problem was people in ecstasy and made no reference to early Church writings.3

Johannes Behm’s article, γλῶσσα, in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, also failed to give a comprehensive account of tongues in the early Church. The author does quote Origen from the book, Against Celsus, and Irenaeus, Against Heresies, to support his view that the christian gift of tongues parallels similar phenomena in different religious systems and various periods.4 However, Behm failed to point out that in both his examples, the word γλῶσσα does not even occur. He neglected the use of γλῶσσα employed by Origen and Irenaeus elsewhere.

Behm is an interesting and controversial figure within theological circles. There is a debate about the removal of his name and works from the historical record. He was ignominiously deposed from his position at the Friedrich Wilhelms University in Berlin after World War II in 1945 because of his Nazi affiliation. It is unclear what happened to him after his dismissal.5

The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament used only one Patristic reference, Clement of Alexandria’s Stromata to substantiate their connection of tongues with Hellenism.6

Lampe’s, 1978 version of the Patristic Greek Lexicon does touch on some relevant passages but fails to be comprehensive. It does refer to nine distinct writers but does not offer anything new outside of the standard modern interpretations.7

Hans Conzelmann’s well-received, A Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians used only Origen to support his claim that “speaking with tongues is unintelligible to a normal man, even a Christian.” However, if one examines the source text quoted more closely, there is little about tongues and more about prophecy. It is a weak correlation.8

The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, which claims to be an authority of patristic interpretation on Scripture, quotes only nine church fathers. The citations includes a weak reference to Augustine, neglecting his larger and more important works on the subject. The Ancient Christian Commentary has a strong emphasis on Chrysostom’s commentary on Corinthians–a book far from being definitive. Their coverage makes it appear that there is little patristic literature on the subject.9

The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible in Five Volumes, defined the New Testament doctrine of Tongues as “ecstatic spiritual utterances not consciously or rationally controlled by the speaker,” without one reference to ancient Church literature.10

The New International Bible Encyclopedia gave scant reference to the ancient Church sages on the subject, quoting Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Chrysostom as found in the standard English sourcebooks. The contributor to the NIBE on this subject, Cecil M. Robeck Jr., an Assemblies of God Minister and Professor at Fuller Seminary, briefly touches on the subject of tongues in Origen’s commentary on Romans as a foreign language. He also believed tongues as an ecstatic utterance needs to be tempered but fails to give a clear alternative.11

Many discussions on the historical definition from a Pentecostal perspective can be traced to George H. Williams’ and Edith Waldvogel’s analysis. In 1975, they published their conclusions in an article titled, A History of Speaking in Tongues and Related Gifts, as found in the book; The Charismatic Movement, by Michael P. Hamilton ed. These two authors surveyed the glossolalic movement from the early Church onwards. It is well-written and one of the better-researched publications. The article remains one of the more popular academic writings from a Pentecostal/Charismatic perspective. However, it has several important flaws as it relates to the ecclesiastical writings:

  • It follows the same pattern and almost identically cites the same Church Fathers found in the available English translations. They also relied on commentaries supplied by Higher Criticism. They do not go beyond these realms. This influence is apparent with Williams’ and Waldvogel’ s preoccupation with Montanism, which Higher Criticism especially promotes.12 The article does add Pope Leo I, Pachomius, Bede and Thomas Aquinas to the historical record but fails to clearly show the reader that all these examples specifically demonstrate the miracle was speaking or hearing in a foreign language.

  • As noted above, most ancient literature on the subject is not popularly available in English. They made a critical mistake to assume already existent English translations are reasonably representative of the historic christian doctrine when they are not.

  • Neither do they alert the reader to different historical movements, perceptions or doctrines that existed during early centuries of the Church that differed from their own. Consequently, they made no effort to resolve any historical tensions.

  • Williams’ and Waldvogel’s historical record regarded three forms of tongues as equally authentic: ecstatic, foreign languages and as a psychological phenomenon.13 They aggregated all three together as one whole unit without first establishing a historical precedent for doing such. These three streams could be independent of each other, each one introduced at different periods, or one or more could be based on a wrong assumption.

  • They do briefly recognize Augustine and Gregory Nazianzus’ contribution but fail to recognize how powerfully their opinions, and the ensuing controversies surrounding especially Nazianzus, influenced the Church for over a thousand years.

An Analysis of the Patristic Literature Source Citation

There are numerous references from the ecclesiastical writers on the christian doctrine of tongues. From personally looking at and indexing approximately 135 volumes of Migne Patrologia Graeca, there are at least 34 passages that clearly define the gift of tongues, 51 more references that are strong indicators, 109 indirect references or parallels and Biblical citations about the tongues phenomena. There are 360 occurrences of keywords that are available for grammar, syntax and comparative work and 35 references to early Church liturgy that helps understand the context of tongues. This tally is a conservative one. Only about 60% of christian literature has been surveyed in the Greek, lowering to less than 30% in the Latin.

Out of the 34 or more passages covered by Ecclesiastical writers spanning over a one thousand year period, only seven have been popularly used in the primary sourcebooks. These seven are not the best choices regarding the topic at hand, but better fit in with the ideology that the Christian rite of tongues is a syncretization of Greek pagan practices — an effort to transform the Christian message into an international one.

Many of the other 34 can be found at the Gift of Tongues Project Intro page. Not all are available because they have yet to be analyzed, digitized, or translated.

The following is an analysis of the seven typically used citations to affirm tongues as an ecstatic utterance and quoted in most sourcebooks. As the reader is going to see, they are not the best ones out of the vast corpus available. Instead, they chose these citations because they aligned better with their theory of glossolalia. This theory may be correct, but the omission, ignorance, and failure to wrestle with the larger and better body of works out there severely weaken this framework.

1. Irenaeus:

Against Haeresies I, 13, 3

It appears probable enough that this man possesses a demon as his familiar spirit, by means of whom he seems able to prophesy, and also enables as many as he counts worthy to be partakers of his Charis themselves to prophesy. He devotes himself especially to women, and those such as are well-bred, and elegantly attired, and of great wealth, whom he frequently seeks to draw after him, by addressing them in such seductive words as these: “I am eager to make you a partaker of my Charis, since the Father of all does continually behold your angel before His face. Now the place of your angel is among us: it behooves us to become one. Receive first from me and by me [the gift of] Charis. Adorn yourself as a bride who is expecting her bridegroom, that you may be what I am, and I what you are. Establish the germ of light in your nuptial chamber. Receive from me a spouse, and become receptive of him, while you are received by him. Behold Charis has descended upon you; open your mouth and prophesy.” On the woman replying, “I have never at any time prophesied, nor do I know how to prophesy;” then engaging, for the second time, in certain invocations, so as to astound his deluded victim, he says to her, “Open your mouth, speak whatsoever occurs to you, and you shall prophesy.” She then, vainly puffed up and elated by these words, and greatly excited in soul by the expectation that it is herself who is to prophesy, her heart beating violently [from emotion], reaches the requisite pitch of audacity, and idly as well as impudently utters some nonsense as it happens to occur to her, such as might be expected from one heated by an empty spirit. (Referring to this, one superior to me has observed, that the soul is both audacious and impudent when heated with empty air.) Henceforth she reckons herself a prophetess, and expresses her thanks to Marcus for having imparted to her of his own Charis. She then makes the effort to reward him, not only by the gift of her possessions (in which way he has collected a very large fortune), but also by yielding up to him her person, desiring in every way to be united to him, that she may become altogether one with him.14 15

This passage is weak in establishing the nature and definition of tongues. It would make a stronger case for defining the office of prophecy. The Greek word for tongues, γλῶσσα, does not appear in the text.

The more relevant passage that ought to have been quoted is from Irenaeus’ Against Heresies text, Book V, Chapter 6:1:

For this reason does the apostle declare, “We speak wisdom among them that are perfect,” [1 Corinthians 2:6] terming those persons “perfect” who have received the Spirit of God, and who through the Spirit of God do speak in all languages, as he used Himself also to speak. In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the Church, who possess prophetic gifts, and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages, and bring to light for the general benefit the hidden things of men, and declare the mysteries of God, whom also the apostle terms “spiritual,” they being spiritual because they partake of the Spirit, and not because their flesh has been stripped off and taken away, and because they have become purely spiritual.16

There are others too, not so strong as the above that allude to foreign languages such as Against Heresies Book 3, Chapter 12:1, and Book 3, Chapter 17:2. None of these are mentioned or wrestled with in the sourcebooks when drawing up their conclusion of tongues as an ecstatic utterance.

2. Origen

This third-century writer is the most quoted. Why many contemporaries chose him is questionable. It may be that he was one of the earlier writers on the subject, along with the fact that his works have such a high standard of both piety and intellectual foresight that many other writers shortly after him lacked. As demonstrated in my previous article, Origen on the Gift of Tongues, his contribution to the subject is minimal compared to other writers such as Gregory Nazianzus or Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.

Against Celsius VII:8-9

” Then he goes on to say: “To these promises are added strange, fanatical, and quite unintelligible words, of which no rational person can find the meaning: for so dark are they, as to have no meaning at all; but they give occasion to every fool or impostor to apply them to suit his own purposes.”17

Many authors use this passage to correlate the historical gift of tongues with ecstasy. However, it does not have the word for tongues γλῶσσα in it. Nor does Origen even propose or intend this to be a didactic on tongues.

The following have used this to support their position: Frederick Farrar, The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Johannes Behm: Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Bauer: A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.

Origen’s Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans is closer to what he believed, though it is seldom found or discussed in any significant work on the subject.

Commentary in the Epistle to the Romans 1:13

Now one must ask how the Apostle is under obligation to the Greeks and the non-Greeks with the teachers of wisdom and the foolish ones. How is it then he heard from these very ones from which he was bound under obligation? I indeed believe thereupon him to have accomplished the obligation within the diverse nations that he received through the grace of the Holy Spirit [the ability] to speak in the languages of all the nations, even as he himself says, “I speak in tongues more than you all,” because then the knowledge of languages is not according to anything within himself, but he received on behalf of those which were about to be preached. The obligation is being brought forth in all those which he receives from God the knowledge of language.18

C.M. Robeck Jr. in The New International Bible Encyclopedia wrote about Origen’s Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans 1:13 as an affirmation that he viewed it as a bridge to cross-cultural preaching.19 Romans 1:13, is a good argument, but he then cited 7:6, which is very vague. It is difficult to find the correlation with 7:6, and he may be stretching his argument here. This discussion once again can be found in more detail inside the previous article, Origen on the Doctrine of Tongues.

3. Eusebius

Ecclesiastical History V:16

There is said to be a certain village called Ardabau in that part of Mysia, which borders upon Phrygia. There first, they say, when Gratus was proconsul of Asia, a recent convert, Montanus by name, through his unquenchable desire for leadership, gave the adversary opportunity against him. And he became beside himself, and being suddenly in a sort of frenzy and ecstasy, he raved, and began to babble and utter strange things, prophesying in a manner contrary to the constant custom of the Church handed down by tradition from the beginning.20

Almost all authors who trace tongues as an ecstatic utterance ultimately arrives at this passage for validation. The problem with this passage is twofold. Number one, the Greek word for tongues, γλῶσσα, does not appear, and secondly, Eusebius does not make any correlation between the Montanist ecstasy and the gift of tongues. Modern researchers have yet to make a direct connection. It is only speculation.

If the Higher Criticists were more familiar with ancient church writings, they would have been able to build a stronger case around the Donatists than the Montanists (see An Analysis of Augustine on Tongues and the Donatists for details). However, the Donatists were not even mentioned in any source work.

This whole controversy is an important one. It is covered in more detail here: A Critical Look at Tongues and Montanism.

4. Tertullian

Against Marcionem V: 8

Let Marcion then exhibit, as gifts of his god, some prophets, such as have not spoken by human sense, but with the Spirit of God, such as have both predicted things to come, and have made manifest the secrets of the heart; let him produce a psalm, a vision, a prayer – only let it be by the Spirit, in an ecstasy, that is, in a rapture, whenever an interpretation of tongues has occurred to him; let him show to me also, that any woman of boastful tongue in his community has ever prophesied from among those specially holy sisters of his.21

This is the first time the Greek word γλῶσσα occurs in the primary proof-texts of tongues as ecstasy. It is an obscure passage. It does not give enough information to build an argument from any perspective.

Irenaeus, Origen, Eusebius and Tertullian, these four are the most referenced and earliest citations on the gift of tongues. These Church writers are all first cited together in August Neander’s 1832 publication Geschichte der Pflanzung und Leitung der christlichen Kirche durch die Apostel later translated into English as History of the Planting and training of the Christian Church by the Apostles.22 As outlined earlier in Introduction to the History of Glossolalia Neander is one of the leading founders of the modern definition. The Patristic construct that he promoted has not been analyzed or changed much since his publishing in the mid-1800s.

5. Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis

PKE Feine’s account found in The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge is the only modern author found to use Epiphanius’ account as validation for tongues as ecstasy.

Against Haeresies XLVIII: 4 (MPG: Vol. 41. Col. 861ff)

There is no translation given because the subject matter does not make a compelling argument and it is a waste of resources and time to translate from the Greek into English.

It is difficult to pinpoint the citation of this passage relative to the gift of tongues. Tongues are not directly referenced, and it is a problem even to find the inference. The Greek keyword γλῶσσα is not used in this passage, nor any noun of the equivalent meaning. The word ecstasy is located but only in relation to prophecy.

He described the Montanist practice of ecstatic utterance from Epiphanius’ book, Against Heresies (Adversus Haereses XLVIII:4) to strengthen his argument but then neglected to mention Epiphanius’ direct discourse on Pentecost (Adversus Haereses XXXIX) and incredible description of the Corinthian tongues (Adversus Haereses XLII) — a place where Epiphanius argued that the conflict in Corinth was about ethnic problems between Attic, Aeolic, and Doric Greeks. Both of these passages, which the writer ignored, seriously erode his argument of tongues as an ecstatic utterance relative to the Greek culture of the time. Feine also quoted the Montanist practice from Eusebius’ book, Ecclesiastical History, where the term γλῶσσα does not occur.23

6. John Chrysostom

Homily 29 on I First Corinthians

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. You know that when you were Gentiles, you were led away unto those dumb idols, howsoever ye might be led.

This whole place is very obscure: but the obscurity is produced by our ignorance of the facts referred to and by their cessation, being such as then used to occur but now no longer take place. And why do they not happen now? Why look now, the cause too of the obscurity has produced us again another question: namely, why did they then happen, and now do so no more?24

This passage has been utilized and interpreted in many ways. The majority of the sourcebooks do not cite Chrysostom, but this text does exist in the more conservative religious publications. Some have used his works to promote the gift had died in the earliest ages of Christianity. Others have interpreted it to mean that the institutional Church quelched it, and later it was re-introduced by the Montanist movement.

The utilization of Chrysostom’s statement makes it appear as a final event that already happened in history and is not going to repeat itself.

The majority of publications are too selective here. If one takes a closer look, he wrote more on this subject. Oddly, the idea of tongues as a supernatural endowment of foreign language(s) unknown beforehand by the speaker is present in his writings, but ignored in modern reviews.25

Chrysostom’s Homilies on I Corinthians, especially 29-36 promotes that it was speaking in foreign languages. There is no doubt. For example, he wrote in Homily 35 about I Corinthians 14:10:

There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and no kind is without signification:” i.e., so many tongues, so many voices of Scythians, Thracians, Romans, Persians, Moors, Indians, Egyptians, innumerable other nations.26

The original Pauline passage of I Corinthians 14:10 is short and leads to unintended ambiguity with the English reader.27 Chrysostom clearly understood it to mean foreign languages.

One of the most important contributions that Chrysostom wrote, which reflected the mood and theological position of his era has been left out in any publication. It is found in Homily 35 in his Homilies on I Corinthians:

At this point he makes a comparison between the gifts, and lowers that of the tongues, showing it to be neither altogether useless, nor very profitable by itself. For in fact they were greatly puffed up on account of this, because the gift was considered to be a great one. And it was thought great because the Apostles received it first, and with so great display; it was not however therefore to be esteemed above all the others. Wherefore then did the Apostles receive it before the rest? Because they were to go abroad every where. And as in the time of building the tower the one tongue was divided into many; so then the many tongues frequently met in one man, and the same person used to discourse both in the Persian, and the Roman, and the Indian, and many other tongues, the Spirit sounding within him: and the gift was called the gift of tongues because he could all at once speak various languages.28

Here Chrysostom outlined a framework to the miracle of tongues very similar to that of Origen, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Augustine Bishop of Hippo asserted.

Whether it continued or ceased in the Church is a different question than the nature and definition of tongues.

7. Clement of Alexandria


The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament cites Clement of Alexandria’s Stromata to claim a connection with tongues as an ecstatic utterance. Clement is one of the earlier church writers who lived around the end of the second century.29

The EDNT only references the Stromata in passing. It does not contain the quote, just a narrative description.30 The following, after searching for a considerable amount of time, is the quote they are referring to.

Plato attributes a dialect also to the gods, forming this conjecture mainly from dreams and oracles, and especially from demoniacs, who do not speak their own language or dialect, but that of the demons who have taken possession of them. He thinks also that the irrational creatures have dialects, which those that belong to the same genus understand.31 32

This early Church writer is quoted only occasionally to prove that the miracle of tongues was an ecstatic utterance.

The EDNT used a different numbering and chapter convention for the Stromata. Their cited chapter and verse subdivision of 1:431:1 is not a standard convention and may be a typographical error. If they were referring to the source text found in Titi Flaui Clementis Alexandrini Operum Omnium then it was 1:21:431.33 Their description of the Stromata passage dictates that it would likely be 1.21 in the common English translation of the Ante-Nicene Fathers which is provided in the above quote.

Clement made no allusion or direct correlation between Plato’s discourse and that of the miracle of tongues in the Bible.

Thoughts on the Seven Citations

The above seven are the main Ecclesiastical citations used by most of the major books on defining the gift of tongues. There are other seldom-used citations such as the Testament of Job,34 Justin Martyr,35 Cyprian, Hippolytus,36 Novatian37, a certain Dionysius,38 and Firmilian,39 but these have not been repetitively used within academic circles such as the ones stated above. They offer no further contribution to the nature and definition of tongues but all, except for the Testament of Job, are more aimed at the continuance or cessation of the miraculous in the Church.

Hilary of Poitiers is referred to but his position is under-appreciated: “And we learn that all this prophecy was fulfilled in the case of the Apostles, when, after the sending of the Holy Spirit, they all spoke with the tongues of the Gentiles.”40 He clearly defined the miracle as foreign languages but few have seriously consulted his position.

The Neglect of Ancient Church Records on Speaking in Tongues

There are many reasons why patristics and ecclesiastical writings are victims of neglect within major sourcebooks on this subject. One of the causes is the rejection of patristics as a valid source of history. There was once a time where patristic studies had an elevated status, but for various reasons, was dethroned. Most of the primary sourcebooks come from an era that reflects this sentiment; casting these works into the realm of myths and legends. These comments are outside the scope of this article. More on this can be found at The Historical Rejection of Patristics and its Legacy, which documents the rise of the rationalist movement and the de-authorization of patristics and ecclesiastical writings.

Another reason is lack of reading ability: there are so few that know about the Church Fathers in Latin or Greek. Access is also a problem. The availability of ecclesiastical writings was minimal until the advent of digital technologies. In the past, it was a difficult task, if not impossible, to sew together a historical narrative from a multitude of texts and authors. The last ten years have opened up the availability of Church writers in a way unheard of in the vestibules of history. This subject can be reopened under a new light.

Another challenge is the lack of protestant scholars trained in Patristics. The contemporary practice and debate of the tongues doctrine is a protestant phenomenon. There are few, if any, protestant-based Pentecostals or Charismatics trained in Latin or Greek. The contemporary catholic scholars, on the other hand, many who have the expertise, have had little interest in the subject, because it has traditionally had a lesser impact on their communities.

For further reading:

  1. J.H. Moulton and G. Milligan. The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament. London: Hodder and Stoughton Ltd. ND. Pg. 128
  2. Walter Bauer, ed. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature: Second Edition. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 1979. Pg. 162
  3. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Bing Grimm’s Wilke’s Clavis Nove Testamenti. Trans. By Joseph Henry Thayer. New York: American Book Company. 1889. Pg. 118
  4. Johannes Behm. γλῶσσα as found in Gerhard Kittel, ed. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. G.W. Bromiley Trans. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. Vol. 1. 1964. Pg. 722
  5. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Behm
  6. Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Horst Balz, Gerhard Schneider ed. Transl. by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. co. USA: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1990. Vol. 3. Pg. 253
  7. A Patristic Greek Lexicon. G.H. Lampe ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1978. Pg. 316. The Patristic Lexicon, quotes from 9 Patristic writers to define γλῶσσα, However, three of them are used only to describe Hebraic thought on 72 languages. One used exclusively to promote cessationalism. With the exception of Chrysostom, they are all weak references. It leads the reader to think only 5 Church fathers wrote briefly on defining the word. Chrysostom is quoted the most (3x) followed by Greg. Naz. and Thdt (2x); Cyr., Epiph., Sever., Clem. (His abbreviations)
  8. Hans Conzelmann. A Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians. George W. MacRae ed. Philadelphia: Fortress Press. 1975. Pg. 234
  9. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament: I and II Corinthians. Gerald Bray ed. Illinois: Intervarsity Press. Pg. 138ff
  10. The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible in Five Volumes. Merril C. Tenney ed. Volume V. “Tongues, Gift of” by R.A. Cole. NP. ND. Pg. 775
  11. New International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Geoffrey W. Bromiley ed. “Tongues, Gift of: by C.M. Robeck Jr. Vol. 4. USA: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. co. 1984? Pg. 872ff
  12. Montanism is a central theme for their work; “As for Montanism, the more important movement for our survey, it was a rigorist challenge, beginning in Phrygia, to an increasingly organized and structured Church,” as found in The Charismatic Movement. Michael P. Hamilton ed. “A History of Speaking in Tongues and Related Gifts” by George H. Williams and Edith Waldvogel. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1975. Pg. 65
  13. As found in; The Charismatic Movement. Michael P. Hamilton ed. “A History of Speaking in Tongues and Related Gifts” by George H. Williams and Edith Waldvogel. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1975. Pg. 105
  14. Against Heresies (Book I, Chapter 13) Translated by Alexander Roberts and William Rambaut. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight.
  15. Johannes Behm’s entry for “γλῶσσα, ἑτερόγλοσσος” in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Geoffrey W. Bromiley ed. Vol. 1. Pg. 723, makes the association between this passage and Hellenistic prophecy, alluding to the fact that christian glossolalia is founded upon pagan Greek origins.
  16. Translated by Alexander Roberts and William Rambaut. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. .
  17. Complete documentation can be found at my article Origen on the Doctrine of Tongues.
  18. My translation. For more information see, Origen on the Doctrine of Tongues
  19. Geoffrey W. Bromiley. The New International Bible Encyclopedia. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans. 1984? Vol. 4. “Tongues, Gift of” by C.M. Robeck Jr. Pg. 874
  20. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1890.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight.
  21. Translated by Peter Holmes. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight.
  22. August Neander. History of the Planting and training of the Christian Church by the Apostles. Translated by J.E. Ryland. New York: Leavitt, Trow. 1847. Pg. 24
  23. The discussion of Epiphanius on the tongues of Corinth, Adversus Haereses XLII, omitted by all the source-books, can be found here: Epiphanius on the Problem Tongues of Corinth.
  24. Translated by Talbot W. Chambers. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 12. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1889.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. .
  25. For expanded coverage about Chrysostom on tongues see: Chrysostom on the Doctrine of Tongues
  26. Translated by Talbot W. Chambers. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 12. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1889.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. .
  27. “There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. ” 21st Century King James Version
  28. Translated by Talbot W. Chambers. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 12. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1889.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. .
  29. Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Horst Balz, Gerhard Schneider ed. USA: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1990. Vol. 3. Pg. 253.
  30. “One may also argue for a derivation from the equally present ecstatic seers and interpreters and proclaimers (or prophets) in ancient divination (Plato Ti. 71e-72b), or from the concept of the gods’ own language, which became known in dreams and oracular sayings to ones who were possessed (Clement of Alexandria Strom. i.431.1).” EDNT. Horst Balz, Gerhard Schneider ed. USA: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1990. Vol. 3. Pg. 253. A passive reference is also found in Johannes Behm’s entry for “γλῶσσα, ἑτερόγλοσσος” in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Geoffrey W. Bromiley ed. Vol. 1. Pg. 723
  31. Translated by William Wilson. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885.) [Page 332 in the original publication] Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight.
  32. The source Greek: Ὁ Πλάτων δὲ καὶ τοῖς θεοῖς διάλεκτον ἀπονέμει τινά· μάλιστα μὲν ἀπὸ τῶν ὀνειράτων τεκμαιρόμενος καὶ τῶν χρησμῶν, ἄλλως δὲ καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν δαιμονώντων, οἳ τὴν αὐτῶν οὐ φθέγγονται φωνὴν οὐδὲ διάλεκτον, ἀλλὰ τὴν τῶν ὑπεισιόντων δαιμόνων. οἴεται δὲ καὶ ἀλόγων ζώων διαλέκτους εἶναι, ὧν τὰ ὁμογενῆ ἐπακούειν. Clementis Alexandrini. “Titi Flaui Clementis Alexandrini Operum Omnium.” Tom. I. As found in Bibliothecra Sacra: Patrum Ecclesiae Graecorum. Pars. III. Reinholdus Klotz, ed. Lipsiae: E. B. Schwikerti. 1831. Pg. 95
  33. Clementis Alexandrini. “Titi Flaui Clementis Alexandrini Operum Omnium.” Tom. I. As found in Bibliothecra Sacra: Patrum Ecclesiae Graecorum. Pars. III. Reinholdus Klotz, ed. Lipsiae: E. B. Schwikerti. 1831. Pg. 95
  34. “And she sang angelic hymns in the voice of angels, and she chanted forth the angelic praise of God while dancing.” 11:21. For more information see: The Testament of Job and Angelic Tongues
  35. “For the prophetical gifts remain with us, even to the present time.”ANF01. The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus
  36. Hippolytus and His Age Pg. 115 and 244
  37. “This is He who places prophets in the Church, instructs teachers, directs tongues, gives powers and healings, does wonderful works, offers discrimination of spirits, affords powers of government, suggests counsels, and orders and arranges whatever other gifts there are of charismata; and thus make the Lord’s Church everywhere, and in all, perfected and completed.”ANF05. Fathers of the Third Century: Hippolytus. Pg. 641
  38. It is mentioned by Ronald A. Kidd in his Charismatic Gifts in the Early Church. Massachusetts: Hendrickson. 1984. Pg. 81 but I haven’t been able to validate where exactly he quoted from.
  39. Once again, it is mentioned by Ronald A. Kidd in his Charismatic Gifts in the Early Church. Massachusetts: Hendrickson. 1984. Pg. 83 but I haven’t been able to validate where exactly he quoted from.
  40. as found in On the TrinityVIII:5, Pg. 144

3 thoughts on “History of Glossolalia: Patristic Citation”

  1. I found this recently:

    Later, in order to examine and discuss the election I had made, I took out the reasons I had written down to examine them. I prayed to our Lady, and then to the Son and to the Father, to give me their Spirit to examine and distinguish, although I was speaking of something already done, and felt a deep devotion and certain lights with some clearness of view, I sat down, considering, as it were in general, whether I should have complete or partial revenue, or nothing at all, and I lost all desire to see any reasons. At this moment other lights came to me, namely, how the Son first sent the Apostles to preach in poverty, and afterwards, the Holy Spirit, giving His Spirit and the gift of tongues, confirmed them, and thus the Father and the Son sending the Holy Spirit, all Three Persons confirmed the mission.

    Spiritual Journal of Ignatius Loyola, Feb 11, 1544

    The current Jesuit Pope also encourages this in Catholicism.


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