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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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GERASA . A city of the Decapolis of unknown origin, the first known event in its history being its capture by Alexander Jannæus, about b.c. 83. It was rebuilt by the Romans in a.d. 65, and destroyed in the Jewish revolt. Vespasian’s general, Lucius Annius, again took and destroyed the city. In the 2nd cent. a.d. it was a flourishing city, adorned with monuments of art; it was at this time a centre of the worship of Artemis. It afterwards became the seat of a bishop, but seems to have been finally destroyed in the Byzantine age. An uncertain tradition of some Jewish scholars, favoured by some modern writers, identifies it with Ramoth-gilead . The ruins of the city still exist under the modern name Jerâsh ; they lie among the mountains of Gilead, about 20 miles from the Jordan. These are very extensive, and testify to the importance and magnificence of the city, but they are unfortunately being rapidly destroyed by a colony of Circassians who have been established here. The chief remains are those of the town walls, the street of columns, several temples, a triumphal arch, a hippodrome, a theatre, etc.

Gerasa is not mentioned in the Bible, unless the identification with Ramoth-gilead hold. The Gerasenes referred to in Mark 5:1 (RV [Note: Revised Version.] ) cannot belong to this place, which is too far away from the Sea of Galilee to suit the story. This name probably refers to a place named Kersa, on the shore of the Lake, which fulfils the requirements. See Gadara.

R. A. S. Macalister.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Gerasa'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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Gerasenes, Gergesenes
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