From Israel: Restoration At Kursi The Site Of The Healing Of The Man With The Unclean Spirit -- By: Anonymous
BSP 11:2-3-4 (Spring-Summer-Autumn 1982) p. 87
Restoration At Kursi
The Site Of The Healing Of The Man With The Unclean Spirit
On the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee (Lake Gennesareth), a Christian site of major significance, buried for centuries, has been excavated by Israel’s Department of Antiquities, and has been imaginatively restored by the National Parks Authority. Around it, a park with trees, lawns and public facilities has been laid out for the convenience of pilgrims and tourists. The ruins of the partially reconstructed Byzantine basilica and of the hillside chapel, and the landscaping of the area, create a setting conducive to meditation and prayer at the site where Jesus miraculously rid the tormented madman of the demons that plagued him.
The incident is related, with some variations, in each of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 8, Mark 5, Luke 8). Jesus, together with his disciples, having crossed by boat from the western to the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee to the land of the Gadarenes (or Gerasenes), was accosted by a demented, demon-plagued man, who had been living in caves and graveyards on the hillside. Under the influence of the demons, he tried to hinder Jesus from entering the territory which the demons considered as their own. Jesus cast the demons out, allowing them, however, to enter a large herd of swine that had been pasturing in the hills nearby. The animals, to the astonishment of the swineherds, rushed head-long down the slope to drown in the waters of the lake below.
BSP 11:2-3-4 (Spring-Summer-Autumn 1982) p. 88
In the days of Jesus, the Semak Valley, which runs east from the Sea of Galilee, was the dividing line between the Land of Israel (Gaulanitis, the Tetrarchy of Philip) and the Hellenistic Decapolis. Mark, according to Father Pixner, conceives of that geographical-political division as reflecting a spiritual one: God reigned to the north of the Valley, while Satan held sway over the pagan south. On Satan’s side, on the very edge of the Decapolis, lay the town of Gerasa (or Gergasa, according to Origen, the Gospels’ land of the Gadarenes, Gerasenes, or Gergesenes, also called Gorsa in the Middle Ages, and Kursi today). It belonged to the district of Hippos (Susita). The cities of the Decapolis had been detached from the Hasmonean kingdom by the conquering legions of Pompey in 63 BC, and granted the autonomous status of Hellenistic cities.
According to the Gospel account, it was here that Jesus made his first attempt to penetrate pagan land. The story is highly symbolic. The demons, who answered to the name of ‘Legion’ (Legio-Roman power), and the swine, the biblica...
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