Jesus the exorcist: a history of religious study

Twelftree, Graham H. (1981) Jesus the exorcist: a history of religious study. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.



This study attempts to make a contribution to the quest for the historical-Jesus. The Synoptic Gospels give the impression that exorcism was very important in the ministry of Jesus. Yet when we note current studies on Jesus there is not only a general neglect of the miracle stories, but especially of the exorcism stories associated with Jesus. Is this neglect justified? Was exorcism an important part of Jesus' ministry? Have exorcism stories found their way from other traditions into the Jesus material? To answer these questions we begin by surveying a wide variety of material to answer the prior question - what notions of exorcism and exorcists would probably have been available to Jesus' audience in first century Palestine?

Having answered this question we examine the principal data in the Synoptic Gospels relating to Jesus and exorcism. We attempt to ascertain which elements of the material can, with reasonable confidence, be attributed to the reports of those who witnessed Jesus as an exorcist and, how the early Church handled this material.

We are then in a position to make our sketch of the historical-Jesus-the-Exorcist which includes an enquiry into how Jesus' audience may have assessed him and how the early Church understood him. Finally as part of our sketch of the historical-Jesus there is a brief chapter on how he may have understood his exorcistic activity.

As a result of our examination of the Jesus tradition we are able to conclude, at least, that Jesus was an exorcist, at one with his time, that the Synoptic Tradition is correct to give considerable emphasis to this aspect of Jesus' ministry, and that Jesus was the first to associate exorcism and eschatology.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Exorcism, Jesus Christ, Miracles, Religion
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
ID Code:941
Deposited By:Mrs Maxine Blythe
Deposited On:09 Oct 2009 14:14
Last Modified:27 Oct 2009 10:37

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