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The study of the Synoptic Gospel healing and exorcism stories has been dominated by contemporary medicalized ways of viewing the human body. This essay challenges those approaches, which assume that there are universal ideals of the body that transcend time and space, and privileges approaches which seek to rigorously contextualize the healing and exorcism stories amid ancient conceptions of the body. One primary way in which ancient conceptions of the body differ from the contemporary is through the ancient overlap between healing and exorcism. This essay argues that one should view exorcisms as ancient healing narratives. Through comparison with other ancient depictions of healing in medical literature and inscriptions, this essay demonstrates that the Synoptic stories of healing and exorcism were operating within cultural discourses about the body. Attention to bodily discourses enables interpreters to identify and respond to the power dynamics in play in narratives of bodily transformation.



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The Oxford Handbook of the Synoptic Gospels


Oxford University Press


healing, exorcism, miracle, ancient medicine, disability, faith, demon, gospels, form criticism


Biblical Studies | Religion


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Healing and Exorcism