The Gadarene Madman – extra ideas

‘In these days in Gadara a disordered spirit of lawlessness found its expression in the brutal and stupid behaviour of these demoniacs.

Today the same deep-rooted perversion of the human mind and heart and nature expresses itself in more apparently civilised and better dressed forms. It expresses itself sometimes in mass hysteria, sometimes in mob violence, sometimes in waves of juvenile delinquency or anti-semitism.

Sometimes it ultimately finds its expression in the determination of a nation, fascinated and led by disordered minds, to wage war and work havoc on the earth in pursuit of wild and senseless ambition.

The Gadarene demoniac who was such a problem “lived among the tombs; and no one could bind him anymore, even with a chain; for he had often been bound with fetters and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the fetter: he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him.”

The civil authorities of Gadara had done their best to maintain public order and decency by force. They reinforced the police, forged the strongest possible chains, issued the strictest instructions, but the situation was beyond their control. Each time new and stronger chains were tried they worked only for a very short time and the disorder broke out afresh.

The Gospel Miracles: Studies in Matthew, Mark and Luke, Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh, 1960 p.65.

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