Matthew 8 recounts the story of Jesus encountering the men in the Gadarenes region who were demon possessed. They refer to Jesus as “son of God” and ask whether Jesus has, “come here to torture us before the appointed time.”
So, the question is, what did the first century Jews think about demons and demon possession? And specifically did they perform exorcisms? If so what made Jesus’s exorcisms different or stand out? We also read about the 70 disciples sent out who return and tell Jesus, “Even the demons were subject to us in your name.”
Here are some links to different articles on the topic. Including references that Josephus the Jewish historian makes concerning demons and exorcisms.
- Dybbuks, demon and exorcism in Judaisim
- Jewish Exorcism
- Jewish Exorcism Ritual
- Jewish Encyclopedia on Exorcism
- Exorcism in the First Century Jewish Mind
One observation concerning Jesus’ exorcisms is that Jesus drove demons out with a word. He did not seem to use complex formulas or require assistance as we find in historical references. Additionally, the disciples report the demons were subject to us “in your name.” Food for thought, “What name are they referring to?” Jesus, Yeshua, Iesus?
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