Baker Academic

Friday, August 16, 2013

Jesus and Demons

Brian LePort isn't always up to no good. He's posted a lecture by Craig A. Evans on the topic of Jesus and demonic exorcism. This is one of my favorite topics and Evans is one of my favorite teachers.



  1. I hope this earns me some redemption. :)

    1. I would think of this as a way to maintain the redemption already afforded you.


  2. E.P. Sanders would approve of your answer.

  3. I posted these out of order, but see your next post for a continuation of these thoughts:

    1. I found Evans' use of the Testament of Solomon as a 1st century attestation to the efficacy of Solomon's name, seal, etc. being invoked specifically in opposition to demons slightly problematic. I think Sarah Schwarz has effectively worked to show that the Greek document that we have as TSol is probably something compiled or written in whole in the early medieval period. Such is due to the extraordinarily late textual tradition, excepting a 5th or 6th century version of a portion of chapter 18, which if you read it sits somewhat awkwardly in the scheme of the whole. This is not to say that there was no tradition of Solomon material, as Josephus, et al. attest to. I just think that TSol is more like the end of a long trajectory of what might be termed Solomoniana rather than a constant textual witness to it.
    2. 4Q242 is heavily reliant on Frank Moore Cross' reconstruction of a fragmentary text (which one can even see in the photos in Evans PP). Additionally, the term, which Evans places here as "exorcist," which does appear in the text is גזר which is really more like a "diviner," in fact being used in some distinction to the more common term for an exorcist (אשפ) in Dan 2.27.
    3. I am not sure what he is going for with the use of the incantation bowls, as they are (a) quite late [5th-6th CE] (b) geographically delimited (c) barely mentioned in any text from the period or any other. That some folks in 5th century Nippur might have been familiar with Jesus' name doesn't seem to offer much to his argument here.
    4. The Toledot Yeshu (where Jesus is accused of sorcery) is almost surely from the early medieval period, and is mostly a kind of parodic, popular story that circulated pretty widely. I am not sure why he claims that it only exists in the Cairo Genizah and that he can't get his hands on it, there are about 100 manuscripts of it, and a few decent English translations exist. There has not been much attention paid to it in the past hundred years, except by Jesus-myth folks.