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Jesus the Healer

Possession, Trance and the Origins of Christianity

Jesus the Healer

Possession, Trance and the Origins of Christianity

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Publisher: SCM Press
ISBN: 9780334026051
Published: 01/06/1995

It is strange, Stevan Davies points out, that while virtually all those engaged in research into the historical Jesus presuppose that Jesus was a teacher and that all his actions were part of a teaching ministry, they are also largely agreed that it is almost impossible to discover precisely what he taught.

Moreover, many of these scholars are also themselves teachers. So might there not be a good deal of the 'Jesus in our image', which Albert Schweitzer brilliantly criticized, in their approach? Fully aware of the problems associated with the quest, he therefore sets out to see Jesus rather as primarily a spirit-possessed healer and an exorcist of demon-possessed people.

This new approach, made in the light of contemporary anthropological and psychological studies, sheds fascinating new light on the tradition of the Synoptic Gospels, and can also be extended fruitfully into the writings of Paul and John, with striking results. Even those who feel that there are already an excessive number of books about Jesus will not find this new study one too many. 

Stevan L. Davies

Stevan L. Davies is a Professor of Religious Studies

'Stevan Davies offers a fascinating reading of the Gospels that takes serious account of their descriptions of Jesus as a spirit-filled exorcist and healer. This is a provocative work which I certainly intend to assign for my course in the New Testament' --(Elaine Pagels).

'The Jesus-quest has spawned a number of seminal studies,but none more brilliant, surprising, and engaging than this one. Davies is able to reclaim as authentic large swathes of Jesus tradition previously regarded by scholars as late additions. The work is a tour de force that opens a whole new vista on Jesus and his followers' --(Walter Wink).