The exorcism of the Gadarene demoniac(s).
Matthew 8.28-34 = Mark 5.1-20 = Luke 8.26-39.
Current mode: View.
Notes and quotes.
§ I count the following agreements between Matthew and Luke against Mark:
§ This pericope is one of two miracles in which the recipient is doubled in Matthew but not in the other two synoptic gospels. The other is Matthew 20.29-34 = Mark 10.46-52 = Luke 18.35-43, the healing of a blind man.
§ Both Gerasa and Gadara (refer to the textual apparatus for Matthew 8.28 = Mark 5.1 = Luke 8.26) were members of the ancient Decapolis, or ten cities, referred to in Mark 5.20.
Pliny the elder, Natural History 5.30:
The ten cities, then, according to Pliny the elder: Damascus, Philadelphia, Rhaphana, Scythopolis, Gadara, Hippo, Dion, Pella, Garasa, and Canatha.
§ Josephus, Life 42, writing of the revolutionary Justus:
Neither Gadara nor Gerasa lies on the shore of the Galilean lake in any position from which a herd of pigs could rush down a bank into the water. Gadara stands about 5 miles from the sea of Galilee, Gerasa even further (more than thirty miles away).
Note, however, that none of the synoptic evangelists suggests that the encounter with the Gadarene demoniac occurred at Gadara proper, but only in the country (χωραν) of the Gadarenes (but refer also to the textual variants in each). According to Josephus, Gadara had outlying villages bordering on Tiberias (id est, the sea of Galilee). Bruce Metzger comments on page 23 of A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament:
Josephus (Life, IX, 42) refers to Gadara as possessing territory "which lay on the frontiers of Tiberias" (= the Sea of Galilee). That this territory reached to the Sea may be inferred from the fact that ancient coins bearing the name Gadara often portray a ship.
If any of the synoptists wrote of Gerasa in connection with this exorcism, the geography is mistaken. Gadara, however, is readily defensible.