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Bible Encyclopedias
Exorcism and Exorcist

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature

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Exorcism and Exorcist (). The belief in demoniacal possessions, which may be traced in almost every nation, has always been attended by the professed ability, on the part of some individuals, to release the unhappy victims from their calamity. The allusions to the practice of exorcism among the Jews, contained both in their own authors and in the New Testament are too well known to render quotations necessary. In some instances this power was considered as a divine gift; in others it was thought to be acquired by investigations into the nature of demons and the qualities of natural productions, as herbs, stones, etc., and of drugs compounded of them; by the use of certain forms of adjurations, invocations, ceremonies, and other observances. Among all the references to exorcism, as practiced by the Jews, in the New Testament (;; ), we find only one instance which affords any clue to the means employed (); from which passage it appears that certain professed exorcists took upon them to call over a demoniac the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, 'We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.' Their proceeding seems to have been in conformity with the well-known opinions of the Jews in those days, that miracles might be wrought by invoking the names of the Deity, or angels, or patriarchs, etc. The epithet applied to these exorcists, 'vagabond Jews,' indicates that they were traveling mountebanks, who, beside skill in medicine, pretended to the knowledge of magic. The office of the exorcist is not mentioned by Paul in his enumeration of the miraculous gifts (), though it was a power which he possessed himself, and which the Savior had promised (; ).

 

 

 

 

Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Exorcism and Exorcist'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature". https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​kbe/​e/exorcism-and-exorcist.html.
 
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