This was posted by Joe Wallack over at FRDB. It is a more in depth explanation of the “Legion” I posted in my lengthy email about the history of early Christianity:
“We have also demonstrated that the “Gerasenes” or the area around the city of Gerasa does not fit the geographical requirements of the Jewrassic Pork story as Gerasa is about 35 miles from the Sea of Galilee. In addition, the story seems to be completely based on the Impossible and therefore has no Historical core. This opens up the Possibility that the author had a Literary reason for selecting Gerasenes and did not intend to narrate a historical event but rather intended to make a Theological point.
“Mark” is commonly thought to have been written shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem c. 70 CE. Looking through significant events leading to the destruction as documented by Josephus we see possible Parallel references between:
1) Rome’s Historical conquest of Jerusalem
2) Jesus’ Fictional conguest of Jerusalem
1) Start of Mission to Conquer Jerusalem:
—The Historical Roman campaign starts from Caesarea.
—Jesus Fictional campaign starts from Caesarea:
“27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Christ.[b]”
30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.
32He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.”
2) Historical Roman capture of Roman built Gerasa temporarily taken over by Jewish Rebels
“1 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.[a] 2When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil[b] spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” 8For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!”
9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis[c]how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.”
Note the following reMarkable common words/ideas with the Historical Roman campaign:
1) Gerasa – An especially noteworthy town as it was built by Rome, was populated mainly by Gentiles, was temporarily controlled by the Jewish rebels and was an important conquest on the way to Jerusalem. Also, a major rebel leader, Simon, was from Gerasa.
2) Legion – This name for the Demon is especially telling as it is also the primary name for units of Roman soldiers.
3) Pigs – Using pigs is telling as this would be the primary animal Jews associated with Gentiles. Also, one of the conquering Legions had a Boar as it’s standard.
4) Two thousand – This is close to a casualty figure from the Historical Gadara conquest (twenty-two hundred).
5) Drowned – In the Historical Gadara campaign the most horrific method of suffering and execution was drowning.
Thus with a Narrative that can not be Historical it’s quite Possible that “Mark” intended a Figurative comparison of Jesus’ Peaceful conquest of Jerusalem with Rome’s violent conquest of Jerusalem. And, in an Irony that I think “Mark” would really appreciate, “Jesus” did eventually conquer Rome peacefully which is probably the best evidence for Christianity.”