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Healing of the Demoniac

jesus demons possessed swine

There are several accounts in the Gospels of Jesus healing people possessed by *demons. As with other scenes of Jesus’ *miracles, the subjects are found in simplified formats in early Christian examples. Jesus will be shown standing and gesturing toward the possessed person, who may be chained or writhing violently. The exorcised demon often appears exiting from the person’s mouth or on the top of his head. When pigs are included in the scene, the miracle is that of the Gadarene swine (recounted in the first three Gospels), in which Jesus drove out many demons from one (or two) possessed men at Gerasa (or Gadara). The demons asked to be transferred into a herd of swine (sometimes the demons are shown riding on the backs of the pigs); they drove the herd over a cliff and drowned in the water. Architecture in the background and landscape details of caves and rocks indicate the setting as outside the town, where the demoniac had been driven. *Shepherds and frightened citizens from the town may also be included and, in these expanded versions, Jesus is normally accompanied by several disciples. The scenes of Jesus healing an epileptic boy and healing a possessed man in the *synagogue, are less frequently represented than the episode of the Gadarene swine, which appears from the fifth century onward.
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