In essence the demonic has to do with control. People in the ancient world generally and the biblical world in particular spoke of demonic possession when they felt themselves held captive from within by forces and compulsions over which they had no control - transpersonal forces that robbed them of freedom of choice, stunted their human growth, and alienated them from God, from life in community, and from their own individual humanity. This sense that the world, including Israel, has fallen under demonic control is pervasive in the horizon of discourse presupposed in Mark's gospel. Its prominence invites interpreters of Mark to relate the liberating activity of Jesus to all the various 'captivities' - personal, social, economic - under which people of our time labour and which they seem powerless to control or escape. The multiple forms of addiction that burden us as individuals and as societies - huge transpersonal forces that control us and make us slaves - can be seen as manifestations of the demonic.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Understanding the demonic in the NT
Read a great passage today explaining the essential meaning of the demonic in the worldview of the gospels. It's from Brendan Byrne's book "A Costly Freedom - A Theological Reading of Mark's Gospel":