Having the Spirit of Christ
Spirit Possession and Exorcism in the Early Christ Groups
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Publisher: Yale University Press
Number of Pages: 336
Width: 16.4 cm
Height: 23.5 cm
A provocative reinterpretation of accounts of spirit possession and exorcism in early Christianity The earliest Christian writings are filled with stories of possession and exorcism, which were crucial for the activity of the historical Jesus and for the practice of the earliest groups of his followers. Most critical scholarship, however, regularly marginalizes these topics or discards them altogether in reconstructing early Christian history. This innovative book approaches the study of possession from a different methodological angle by using a comparative lens that includes contemporary ethnographies of possession cross-culturally. Possession, besides being a harmful event that should be exorcized, can also have a positive role in many cultures. Often it helps individuals and groups to reflect on and reshape their identity, to plan their moral actions, and to remember in a most vivid way their past. When read in light of these materials, these ancient documents reveal the religious, cultural, and social meaning that the experience of possession had for the early Christ groups.