Mark 5:1

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And they came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. (ASV)

Contents

Pro

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Determination of the Likely Original Word for "Gerasenes"

External Evidence

Manuscript
Metzger

[Manuscript Abbreviations http://www.ovc.edu/terry/tc/layabbre.htm] (help by JW in "[ ]")

"Γερασηνῶν" [Gerasenon]

א* [Sinaiticus original]
B [Vaticanus]
D [Bezae]
it [Old Latin]
vg [Vulgate]
copsa [Coptic Sahidic]

Γαδαρηνῶν [Gadarenon]

A [Alexandrinus]
C [Ephraemi]
K
syrp, h

Γεργεσηνῶν [Gergesenon]

אc [Sinaiticus corrected]
L
Δ
Θ
f 1
syrs"

Metzger, B. M., & United Bible Societies. 1994. A textual commentary on the Greek New Testament, second edition; a companion volume to the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (4th rev. ed.) . United Bible Societies: London; New York

Willker

JW:

Willker online Textual Commentary (help by JW in "[ ]"):

http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/TCG/TC-Mark.pdf

Γερασηνῶν [Gerasenon] 01*, B, D, 1282, Latt, sa,

Γαδαρηνῶν [Gadarenon] A, C, f13, 157, 1342, 2786, Maj, Sy-P, Sy-H, goth

Γεργεσηνῶν [Gergesenon] 01C2, L, U, (W), D, Q, f1, 22, 28, 33, 372, 517, 565, 700, 892, 954, 1071, 1241, 1424, 1675, 2737, 2766, pc50, Sy-S, bo, arm, geo, aeth

Summary of Manuscript Evidence

Qualitative evidence favors "Γερασηνῶν" [Gerasenon] based on Age & Text type (Alexandrian)


Patristic
"Matthew"

The Manuscript evidence supports "Gadarenon" as the most likely original to "Matthew".

"Luke"

The Manuscript evidence supports "Gerasenen" as the most likely original to "Luke".

Origen

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/origen-john6.html

"24. THE NAME OF THE PLACE WHERE JOHN BAPTIZED IS NOT BETHANY, AS IN MOST COPIES, BUT BETHABARA. PROOF OF THIS. SIMILARLY "GERGESA" SHOULD BE READ FOR"GERASA," IN THE STORY OF THE SWINE. ATTENTION IS TO BE PAID TO THE PROPER NAMES IN SCRIPTURE, WHICH ARE OFTEN WRITTEN INACCURATELY, AND ARE OF IMPORTANCE FOR INTERPRETATION.

...

The transaction about the swine, which were driven down a steep place by the demons and drowned in the sea, is said to have taken place in the country of the Gerasenes. Now, Gerasa is a town of Arabia, and has near it neither sea nor lake. And the Evangelists would not have made a statement so obviously and demonstrably false; for they were men who informed themselves carefully of all matters connected with Judaea. But in a few copies we have found, "into the country of the Gadarenes;" and, on this reading, it is to be stated that Gadara is a town of Judaea, in the neighbourhood of which are the well-known hot springs, and that there is no lake there with overhanging banks, nor any sea. But Gergesa, from which the name Gergesenes is taken, is an old town in the neighbourhood of the lake now called Tiberias, and on the edge of it there is a steep place abutting on the lake, from which it is pointed out that the swine were cast down by the demons. Now, the meaning of Gergesa is "dwelling of the casters-out," and it contains a prophetic reference to the conduct towards the Saviour of the citizens of those places, who "besought Him to depart out of their coasts." The same inaccuracy with regard to proper names is also to be observed in many passages of the law and the prophets, as we have been at pains to learn from the Hebrews, comparing our own copies with theirs which have the confirmation of the versions, never subjected to corruption, of Aquila and Theodotion and Symmachus."


JW:

Note that Origen is writing early 3rd century, well before any extant Manuscripts and also lived in Caesarea, close to the disputed location. Origen's important points:

1) Almost all Manuscripts that Origen was aware of had "Gerasenes". The Implication is that this includes "Mark", "Matthew" and "Luke".

2) A few copies had "Gadarenes" which Origen also considers a mistake.

3) By Implication Origen is not aware of any Manuscript, current or past, or any previous testimony, that "Gergesenes" was in any Manuscript copy.

4) This general type of problem with Names indicated by known Textual evidence is common.

Thus per Origen "Gerasenes" is likely original to "Mark".


Eusebius

http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/eusebius_onomasticon_02_trans.htm#G_NUMBERS_AND_DEUTERONOMY

"Gergasei (Gergasi).304 Located on the Jordan near the city of the Galaad (City of Transjordan near tribe Mt.Galaad) which the tribe of Manasse received. It is said to be Gerash the famous city of Arabia. Some affirm it to be Gadara. But the Gospel mentions the Gerassenes (Gergessenes)."

So Eusebius looks to confirm Origen in stating that the actual Gospel location was Gergesenes even though the Gospel texts he is familiar with say Gerasenes.


Jerome

Jerome used "Gerasenes" for the Vulgate.


Summary of Patristic Evidence

Qualitative evidence strongly favors "Γερασηνῶν" [Gerasenon].


Authority

Willker lists the following authority:

(Abbreviations) http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/TCG/Introduction-1.pdf

"Γερασηνῶν" [Gerasenon] = WH, NA25, Gre, Weiss, Trg, Tis, Bal

Γαδαρηνῶν [Gadarenon] =

Γεργεσηνῶν [Gergesenon] = Bois, Trgmg


Related article in professional journal:

"A Study of the Place-Names Gergesa and Bethabara Raymond G. Clapp Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 26, No. 1. (1907), pp. 62-83. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0021-9231%281907%2926%3A1%3C62%3AASOTPG%3E2.0.CO%3B2-T Journal of Biblical Literature is currently published by The Society of Biblical Literature."

[emphasis mine] "1. The historical evidence for Gergesa may be shown to be probably confined to Origen. Zahn adduces also Eusebius (Jerome), Epiphanius, Procopius, and the translator of the Jerusalem Lectionary; and says we have no right to call it a conjecture of Origen. There is a plausible, perhaps sufficient, excuse for the use of most of these authorities ; it is, however, too much to claim that any or all of them are convincing, even if they are men who were in Palestine between 230 and 500 A.D. That Jerome2 is simply translating Eusebius' Onomastica Sacra and has no independent value, is evident from a simple comparison. Zahn admits that Jerome is translating from Eusebius, but regards him as a partially independent witness because he translates the latter's T'6pyeaa Kai UCV 8eitcuvra~ by et hodieque demonstratur. This simply shows that the old Origenian-Eusebian tradition still hung about a ruin on the east shore, which was probably pointed out to him from the other side. If he had seen it himself close at hand, he would scarcely have contented himself with the simple addition of que. Further, the retention of Geraseni in the Vulgate indicates that his remark about Gergesa is merely a citation from Eusebius, not deemed of enough value to change the text. Epiphanius is the strangest witness to call upon. His remark that the place lay in the middle between the three territories (KX+$OL) a is rightly recognized by Zahn as simply a foolish harmonistic conjecture of a man in general unclear in his descriptions. And yet he continues that Epiphanius, being a native of Palestine, must have heard of a real place, Gergesa on the east shore of the sea to speak as he does here. The latter's words rather prove that he knew absolutely nothing of the geography of the section, or that, knowing the region, he still knew nothing of a place called Gergesa and simply imagined in harmonistic interest that there must be such a place because he had found the reading. That this reading came from Origen is probable, since one of the vari- 2 De situ et nominibus,v. Gergesa, h b ubi eos qui a daemonibus vexabantur salvator restituit sanitati, et hodieque super montem viculus demonstratur juxta stagnum Tiberiadis, iu quod porci prnecipitati sunt. Diximus de hoc et supra." Iiaer. 66. 35, v. Tich. viii. to Lk 8 26,

64 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE

ants of Epiphanius' text reads yepyecalwv, the LXX form which Origen uses alongside of y~pyecrjvwv. Epiphanius is then either neutral or negative as a witness to a tradition independent of Origen. That Procopius of Gaza (500 A.D.) speaks of Gergesa as now lying deserted or ruined on the shore of the sea of Tiberias4 may simply mean that this place, mentioned by previous writers, was no longer existent as an inhabited spot. It may have as much independent worth as that it records a tradition that hung about some ruin on the shore. But there is nothing to prove that Origen is not the source of t'he tradition or of his record; and the fact that he writes this in connection with Gen. 1521, the passage from which Origeii probably took his clue, and adds that "the yepyecaio~( instead of yepyecijvo~) dwelt in Gadara and Gergesa," makes it probable that his remark is based simply on Origen's note and his own ignorance of any corresponding place other than that there were some ruins on the east shore. The Jerusalem Lectionary took its final form in the fifth or sixth century under strong influence from Greek lectionaries, 5 and its uniform Gergesenes (Mt., Lk. ; B4k. lacking) indicates a systematic change according to later Mss. under the influence of some such critical opinion as that of Origen rather than the exact information of a native translator, especially in Matthew, where practically all the evidence for Gergesenes is of this schematic, harmonistic character, or is open to suspicion of Origenian influence. The testimony of EusebiusG is less open to suspicion. The fact that he calls it a village instead of a city makes him appear less dependent on Origen ; but, as Zahn remarks (p. 938), it may have had both designations from its intermediary character, as Bethlehem (Lk. 2 4, Jn. 7 42). That the village lay on a hill he might simply have inferred from Mai, Auct. Class. VI.333 (Neue Kirchl. Zeitschr. p. 029). 6 Zahn, Forsch. I . 329, 350 ; Burkitt, Encyc. Bibl. " Texts." 6 Lagarde, 05.9 248. 15: I'epysud. ZvOa 703s GarpovrGvras 6 wdptos Idoa~o. ~ a ivcv 6eiwvv7ar Pnl 700 6pous w6pq aapb 7$v Xfpvqv Trj3eprdbor, 61s 4v wal of xoipor ~a7ewpqpvloOquav. ~ei7acw al dvwrhpw (i.e. 242. 68).

CLAPP : GERGESA AXD BETHABARA 65

the Gospel story; or it may be that the town was pointed out to him from the other side of the sea, coupled with this local tradition, which had sprung up from the apparently happy conjecture of Origen as to its name. It may appear that this is simply an attempt to evade Eusebius' testimony. There is 110 absolute proof that he did not know a place by this name in a suitable location. But, on the other hand, there is no very convincing proof that he did. He gives no particulars other than those that he might have gained without a personal acquaintance with the place or personal effort to probe the authenticity of a stray .tradition. And that he is not very consistent or clear about the location of the spot is evident from the fact that at the close of this citation he refers to another description (just preceding this passage in his Onomastics) with reference to a Gergasei7 (Dt. 7 I), which is connected with Mt. Gilead and which he says is sometimes identified with Gerasa, the famous city of Arabia, and again with Gadara, and that the gospels speak of the people of Gerasa.* Here we have simply varying answers to the question, Where is the Gergesa of Origen ? The authority then is primarily that of the testimony of Origen hirn~elf.~H e knew of but two readings : Gerasenes in most copies, and Gadarenes in a few others ; and rejected both because of the geographical impossibility of either the southern Gerasn of the Decapolis, or the northern Gadara of the same Greek territory, respectively thirty and six nliles southeast of the sea. The identification of its people with the Girgashites of Gen. 1521 -known to us only in western Palestine-and consequent designation of it as an "old city," point to this connection with the Old Testament as a chief reason for his preference of Gergesa. Josephus1� says that 1 Lagarde, OS."42. 68. 8 Jerome changes this to Gergesa. Comnz. on Jn. VI. 24 (41) : .. .dXX& rhpyeca, d@' 4s oi I'epysaaioc, n6Ats dpxala nepl r+r rOr ~aXovplvqrT iPepla8a Xlpvqu, rep1 l)v ~ p ~ p r brasp a~elpuos7; xlprg, kc$ ' 06 G6el~vvrair obs ~olpousS rb r 9 r Garpbrwr ~araPe,9AijcBai . . . loAnt. 1.6. 2 : 'LFor the seven others . . . Gergeseus . . . we have nothing in the sacred books but their names, for the Hebrews overthrew their cities, their calamities coming upon them for the following reason," i.e. (sec. 3) the curse on Ham. Zahn disputes the application of this as proof for the"

Summary of Authority Evidence

Strongly favors "Γερασηνῶν" [Gerasenon].


Summary of External Evidence

All categories of External evidence, Manuscript, Patristic and Authority, strongly favor Gerasenes as likely original.



Internal Evidence

The argument against "Gerasenes" as original is generally that the known city of Gerasa does not fit the physical requirements of the story. This assumes though that "Mark" as a whole and specifically for this story is primarily history.

Criteria for History

Criteria for history are based on the knowledge and objectivity of witnesses. Here the author of "Mark" in general and specifically for this story are unknown so Criteria for History will be weak.

Criteria for Fiction

Wallack's Criteria for identifying Fiction are:

1) Impossible claims
2) Contradictions
3) Improbable claims
4) Parallels to non-historical sources
5) Thematic motivation
6) Contrivance
7) Necessity of tying to other stories

Looking through the story to identify fits with the criteria:

1) Impossible claims

"a man with an unclean spirit"

"And they besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them."

"And he gave them leave. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered into the swine: and the herd rushed down the steep into the sea, [in number] about two thousand; and they were drowned in the sea."

"And they that saw it declared unto them how it befell him that was possessed with demons, and concerning the swine."

2) Contradictions
3) Improbable claims

"who had his dwelling in the tombs: and no man could any more bind him, no, not with a chain"

"because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been rent asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: and no man had strength to tame him. "

"And always, night and day, in the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out, and cutting himself with stones"

"And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshipped him;"

"And he asked him, What is thy name? And he saith unto him, My name is Legion; for we are many."

"And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country."

4) Parallels to non-historical sources

Josephus, whom most would consider the most authoritative historian of 1st century Israel, wrote in detail about the Roman conquest of the Temple and Jerusalem in Books 3 and 4:

The Wars Of The Jews Or The History Of The Destruction Of Jerusalem Book III CONTAINING THE INTERVAL OF ABOUT ONE YEAR. FROM VESPASIAN'S COMING TO SUBDUE THE JEWS TO THE TAKING OF GAMALA. CHAPTER 1. VESPASIAN IS SENT INTO SYRIA BY NERO IN ORDER TO MAKE WAR WITH THE JEWS.

We have the following general parallel here between Josephus and "Mark":

1) Rome's Historical conquest of the Temple and Jerusalem which starts from Caesarea Philippi.

and

2) Jesus' Fictional conquest of the Temple and Jerusalem which starts from Caesarea Philippi.

ReMarkably, in the relatively short Markan story in question, we have the following common words/ideas with the Historical Roman campaign:

1) Gerasa - An especially noteworthy town as it was built by Rome, was populated mainly by Gentiles, was temporarily controlled by the Jewish rebels and was an important conquest on the way to Jerusalem. Also, a major rebel leader, Simon, was from Gerasa.

2) Legion - This name for the Demon is especially telling as it is also the primary name for units of Roman soldiers.

3) Pigs - Using pigs is telling as this would be the primary animal Jews associated with Gentiles. Also, one of the conquering Legions had a Boar as its standard.

4) Two thousand - This is close to a casualty figure from the Historical Gadara conquest, the next Roman conquest on the way to Jerusalem (twenty-two hundred).

5) Drowned - In the Historical Gadara campaign the most horrific method of suffering and execution was drowning (note that 4) and 5) here support the textual rival "Gadara").

Thus with a Narrative that can not be historical it's quite Possible that "Mark" intended a Figurative comparison of Jesus' Peaceful conquest of Jerusalem with Rome's violent conquest of Jerusalem. And, in an Irony that I think "Mark" would really appreciate, "Jesus" did eventually conquer Rome peacefully which is probably the best evidence for Christianity.

5) Thematic motivation

Historically the Sea of Galilee was a natural divider between the Jews of Galilee to the West and the Gentiles to the Southeast. At the end of Mark _1 Jesus heals a leper and the leper promotes Jesus throughout Galilee. Here in Chapter 5, after the demonic is healed, the demonic promotes Jesus throughout the Decapolis. If the author has a theme that Jesus is the bridge that unites Jews and Gentiles, then the use of Gerasa for a setting fits this theme. It is on the Gentile side of the Sea and was a major city of the Decapolis.

The main internal objection to "Gerasa" is that it does not fit the physical requirements in the story of next to the Sea and having a cliff. But it does fit the story in other ways as noted above. So it's not like the word in question was "Albuquerque.

"Mark" also has a Separationist theme in general whereby characters can have a human side that co-exists with a spiritual side that can be either God's or Satan's spirit. The spirit side can be be added or removed from the human side. The story in question clearly has the quality.

6) Contrivance

"and crying out with a loud voice, he saith, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God? I adjure thee by God, torment me not."

"And they come to Jesus, and behold him that was possessed with demons sitting, clothed and in his right mind, [even] him that had the legion: and they were afraid."

"And they began to beseech him to depart from their borders."

"And he went his way, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men marvelled."

Authority accepts that "Mark" has a style of chiasms. A chiasm is a literary device that has parallel actions and ideas in layers of a story that are often equal distance from the center of the story. For the story in question the chiasm is:

"13 And he gave them leave. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered into the swine: and the herd rushed down the steep into the sea, [in number] about two thousand; and they were drowned in the sea. [Departed from the city]

14 And they that fed them fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they came to see what it was that had come to pass. [Witness]

15 And they come to Jesus, and behold him that was possessed with demons sitting, clothed and in his right mind, [even] him that had the legion: [Afraid becomes calm]

and they were afraid. [Calm becomes afraid]

16 And they that saw it declared unto them how it befell him that was possessed with demons, and concerning the swine. [Witness]

17 And they began to beseech him to depart from their borders. [Departed from the city]"

Another Style that "Mark" uses in general is Irony. In the story in question we have the irony that after Jesus exorcises the demons and removes them from the people's midst, the reaction of the people is to remove Jesus from their midst, while the person that had the demon removed than tries to attach himself to Jesus.

Yet another style that "Mark" commonly uses is the Amazed/Afraid Reaction of People to Jesus at the Beginning and End of stories as he does here:

"15 And they come to Jesus, and behold him that was possessed with demons sitting, clothed and in his right mind, [even] him that had the legion: and they were afraid.

16 And they that saw it declared unto them how it befell him that was possessed with demons, and concerning the swine.

17 And they began to beseech him to depart from their borders.

18 And as he was entering into the boat, he that had been possessed with demons besought him that he might be with him.

19 And he suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go to thy house unto thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and [how] he had mercy on thee.

20 And he went his way, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men marvelled."

7) Necessity of tying to other stories

"they came to the other side of the sea"

Most of the story is Impossible and most of the rest is Improbable. Thus the criteria for Fiction are relatively high and combined with low criteria for History there is no support for a starting assumption of history to the Gerasa story. Therefore, the Internal objection to Gerasa based on the physical requirements of the story has little weight, since most if not all of the story is likely to be Fiction anyway.

Criteria for Fictional use of Names

Wallack's Criteria for Fictional use of Names are:

1) Recognition through reading or sound.

Here the offending word "Gerasenes" sounds reMarkably like the primary name in the accompanying story "Jairus". Take off the ending for Gerasenes and you have the city of Gerasa, even more remarkable (the underlying Greek is just as similar).

2) Demonstrated style of the author.

"Mark" often has stylish use of names. Note that "Gerasa" is the key noun at the start of the story without any competing noun location and that "Jairus" is the key noun at the start its story also without any competing noun. Thus they are known respectively as the "Gerasa" and "Jairus" stories.

3) Contextual fit.

"Jairus" fits the story it is used in as it sounds close to the underlying Hebrew word for "awaken" and is even closer to the Hebrew for "enlightened".

4) Thematic fit.

Gerasa was a big Gentile town which fits "Mark's" Jesus going to the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

5) Lack of known literal fit.

As mentioned. Gerasa does not fit the physical requirements of the story.

6) Fictional story.

As demonstrated, the story as a whole is Fiction.

Summary of Internal Evidence

In summary the criteria for fictional use of Names is high, supporting "Gerasa". Therefore, the Internal evidence also supports "Gerasenes" as the likely original.

Geographical Problem of Gerasa

Summary of the Geographical Issue

A majority of translations do have "Gerasenes" so there is no Transmission error here. The next issue is whether the use of "Gerasenes", corresponding to the known city of Gerasa, is historically unlikely based on the details of the accompanying story.

The Complete Story

Mark _5

"1 And they came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes.

2 And when he was come out of the boat, straightway there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,

3 who had his dwelling in the tombs: and no man could any more bind him, no, not with a chain;

4 because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been rent asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: and no man had strength to tame him.

5 And always, night and day, in the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out, and cutting himself with stones.

6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshipped him;

7 and crying out with a loud voice, he saith, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God? I adjure thee by God, torment me not.

8 For he said unto him, Come forth, thou unclean spirit, out of the man.

9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he saith unto him, My name is Legion; for we are many.

10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.

11 Now there was there on the mountain side a great herd of swine feeding.

12 And they besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.

13 And he gave them leave. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered into the swine: and the herd rushed down the steep into the sea, [in number] about two thousand; and they were drowned in the sea.

14 And they that fed them fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they came to see what it was that had come to pass.

15 And they come to Jesus, and behold him that was possessed with demons sitting, clothed and in his right mind, [even] him that had the legion: and they were afraid.

16 And they that saw it declared unto them how it befell him that was possessed with demons, and concerning the swine.

17 And they began to beseech him to depart from their borders.

18 And as he was entering into the boat, he that had been possessed with demons besought him that he might be with him.

19 And he suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go to thy house unto thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and [how] he had mercy on thee.

20 And he went his way, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men marvelled."

Evidence from the Story Indicating Location

1) "1 And they came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes"

This indicates in general that the location is next to the sea (Galilee). It specifically identifies Gerasa as the location

2) "2 And when he was come out of the boat, straightway there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,"

This also indicates the location as next to the sea.

3) "13 And he gave them leave. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered into the swine: and the herd rushed down the steep into the sea, [in number] about two thousand; and they were drowned in the sea."

Again, the sea is indicated.

4) "18 And as he was entering into the boat, he that had been possessed with demons besought him that he might be with him."

The Sea.

So the story is clear that the general location is next to the Sea of Galilee. "Gerasa" is mentioned once as the specific location.

Is "Gerasa" Used to Indicate Location or Direction (Relative to the Sea)?

The preceding indicates that the location of the story in general is next to the Sea. The next question is whether the use of "Gerasa" is intended to give a specific location or a general location (such as east, south, southeast). The relevant words:

http://biblos.com/mark/5-1.htm

2532 [e] Kai Καὶ---And---Conj

2064 [e] ēlthon ἦλθον---they came---V-AIA-3P

1519 [e] eis εἰς---to---Prep

3588 [e] to τὸ---the---Art-ANS

4008 [e] peran πέραν---other side---Adv

3588 [e] tēs τῆς---of the---Art-GFS

2281 [e] thalassēs θαλάσσης---sea,---N-GFS

1519 [e] eis εἰς---to---Prep

3588 [e] tēn τὴν---the---Art-AFS

5561 [e] chōran χώραν---region---N-AFS

3588 [e] tōn τῶν---of the---Art-GMP

1086 [e] Gerasēnōn Γερασηνῶν---Gerasenes.---N-GMP

Based on the English translation it's clear that "Gerasenes" is used here with a meaning of location. If the author intended to identify the setting as in some significant sense, connected to Gerasa, this is what would have been written. In order to consider the alternative, that "Gerasenes" is used here in a directional sense, you have to look at the underlying Greek for possible support. The sentence does start with "they came to the other side of the sea" so the potential for a directional context is there. But it needs to be supported by a result also indicating direction. The key descriptive word here is:

5561-[e]---chōran---χώραν---region---N-AFS

The related question is whether the location is Gerasenes or whether the location is the Gerasenes side of the Sea. Regarding the uses of the word in the Christian Bible:

http://concordances.org/greek/cho_ran_5561.htm

every one is used in a location sense. Thus, while the potential context for a directional use is there, it is not supported by the key descriptive word.

This is all supported by the Patristic reaction above which understood what was written as a location of Gerasenes.

Geographical Relationship of "Gerasenes" to the Sea of Galilee

JW:

Here is a map of 1st century Israel:

http://www.bible-history.com/geography/ancient-israel/israel-first-century.html

nt_israel-flat.jpg

Note that the Sea of Galilee is around G - 5 & 6 on the grid. Meanwhile, Gerasa is around I - 9. A distance of around 35 miles. That would be a long distance by ancient standards. The language of Mark 5 indicates a position next to the Sea of Galilee. Thus the story would appear to have a geographical error of placing Gerasa next to the Sea of Galilee.

We've seen above though that the text refers to the "country of the Gerasenes" and the most common meaning of the underlying Greek for "country" is the rural area surrounding a city, which while technically would not be a part of the city, would still be thought of as associated with the city. So an author could have a setting for a story that was not actually in a city but still refer to the setting as in the country part of the city. The related question is what would be a reasonable limit. We have the following reasons to think that the country of the Gerasenes would not have been considered next to the Sea of Galilee:

1) No such usage outside of the Christian Bible.

2) Patristic reaction.

3) Transmission change away from.

4) Major city of Gadara in between Gerasa and the Sea of Galilee.

5) The story indicates movement from the scene to the city indicating closeness:

"14 And they that fed them fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they came to see what it was that had come to pass.

15 And they come to Jesus, and behold him that was possessed with demons sitting, clothed and in his right mind, [even] him that had the legion: and they were afraid."



Conclusion

1) Generally supported by earlier Manuscripts, especially Aleph and B.

2) Patristic witness generally supports these earlier Manuscripts in general and specifically here.

3) Difficult reading principle.

4) Majority opinion of Christian Bible scholarship (Authority).


1) Patristic evidence of Origen, Eusebius and Jerome.

2) Manuscript evidence including Sinaiticus and Vaticanus (4th century).

3) Authority.

4) Synoptic Copying by "Matthew" and "Luke". (including P75 - 3rd century)


JW:

Thus the Textual Witness is that "Gerasenes" is likely original.

--JoeWallack 13:27, 28 Apr 2007 (CDT)

Con

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Neutral

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