The Info List - Legion (demons)

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"Legion" is the name given to a demon or group of demons in two of three versions of the Exorcism
of the Gerasene demoniac, an account in the New Testament
New Testament
of an incident in which Jesus
performs an exorcism.


1 Development of the story 2 Cultural background 3 In popular culture 4 References 5 Further reading 6 External links

Development of the story[edit] Main article: Exorcism
of the Gerasene demoniac The earliest version of this story exists in the Gospel
of Mark, described as taking place in "the country of the Gerasenes". Jesus encounters a possessed man and calls on the demon to emerge, demanding to know its name – an important element of traditional exorcism practice.[1] He finds the man is possessed by a multitude of demons who give the collective name of "Legion". Fearing he will drive them out of the world and into the abyss, they beg him instead to send them into a herd of pigs, which he does. The pigs then rush into the Lake and are drowned. (Mark 5:1–5:13) This story is repeated in the other two Synoptic Gospels, but without the name "Legion" in Gospel
Matthew. The Gospel of Luke
Gospel of Luke
shortens the story but retains most of the details including the name. (Luke 8:26–8:33) The Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
shortens it more dramatically, changes the possessed man to two men (a particular stylistic device of this writer) and changes the location to "the country of the Gadarenes". This is probably because the author was aware that Gerasa is actually around 50 km away from the Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee
(although Gadara is still 10 km distant). In this version, the demons are unnamed. [2][3] (Matthew 8:28–8:32) Cultural background[edit] According to Michael Willett Newheart, professor of New Testament Language and Literature at the Howard University
Howard University
School of Divinity (2004), the author of the Gospel of Mark
Gospel of Mark
could well have expected readers to associate the name "Legion" with the Roman military formation, active in the area at the time (around 70 AD).[4] The intention may be to show that Jesus
is stronger than the occupying force of the Romans.[5] Seyoon Kim, however, points out that the Latin legio was commonly used as a loan word in Hebrew and Aramaic to indicate a large number.[6] In popular culture[edit] Main article: Legion in popular culture References[edit]

^ Keener 1999, p. 282. ^ Senior 1996, p. 84. ^ Boring 2006, p. 148-149. ^ Newheart 2004, p. 44-45. ^ Blount & Charles 2002, p. 77-78. ^ Kim 2008, p. 118-119.

Further reading[edit]

Blount, Brian K.; Charles, Gary W. (2002). Preaching Mark in two voices (1st ed.). Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press. pp. 77–78. ISBN 9780664223939.  Boring, M. Eugene (2006). Mark: A Commentary. Presbyterian Publishing Corp. ISBN 978-0-664-22107-2.  Keener, Craig S. (1999). A Commentary on the Gospel
of Matthew. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8028-3821-6.  Kim, Seyoon (7 October 2008). Christ and Caesar: The Gospel
and the Roman Empire in the Writings of Paul and Luke. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8028-6008-8.  Newheart, Michael Willett (2004). My name is Legion: the story and soul of the Gerasene demoniac. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press. ISBN 0-8146-5885-7. OCLC 55066538.  Senior, Donald (1996). What are They Saying about Matthew?. Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-3624-7. 

External links[edit]

EarlyChristianWritings.com Gospel
of Mark, see discussion at bottom of page

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Alphaeus Anna the Prophetess Annas Barabbas Bartimaeus Blind man (Bethsaida) Caiaphas Man born blind ("Celidonius") Cleopas Clopas Devil Penitent thief
Penitent thief
("Dismas") Elizabeth Gabriel Impenitent thief
Impenitent thief
("Gestas") Jairus' daughter Joanna John the Baptist Joseph Joseph of Arimathea Joses Jude Lazarus Legion Luke Lysanias Malchus Martha Mary, mother of Jesus Mary Magdalene Mary, mother of James Mary of Bethany Mary of Clopas Naked fugitive Son of Nain's widow Nathanael Nicodemus ( Nicodemus
ben Gurion) Salome Samaritan woman Satan Simeon Simon, brother of Jesus Simon of Cyrene Simon the Leper Simon the Pharisee Susanna Syrophoenician woman Theophilus Zacchaeus Zebedee Zechariah


Angels Jesus's brothers Demons Disciples Evangelists Female disciples of Jesus God-fearers Herodians Magi Myrrhbearers Nameless Pharisees Proselytes Sadducees Samaritans Sanhedrin Scribes Seventy disciples Shepherds Zealots


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Evangelist Patmos "Disciple whom Jesus

Judas Iscariot Jude Thaddeus Matthew Philip Simon Peter Simon the Zealot Thomas


Aeneas Agabus Ananias (Damascus) Ananias (Judaea) Ananias son of Nedebeus Apollos Aquila Aristarchus Barnabas Blastus Cornelius Demetrius Dionysius Dorcas Elymas Egyptian Ethiopian eunuch Eutychus Gamaliel James, brother of Jesus Jason Joseph Barsabbas Judas Barsabbas Judas of Galilee Lucius Luke Lydia Manaen (John) Mark

Evangelist cousin of Barnabas

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Romans Herod's family


Antipas Archelaus Herod the Great Herodias Longinus Philip Pilate Pilate's wife Quirinius Salome Tiberius


Agrippa Agrippa II Berenice Cornelius Drusilla Felix Festus Gallio Lysias Paullus


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Antipas Four Horsemen Apollyon Two witnesses Woman Beast Three Angels Whor