Various cross-cultural parallels to NT spirit-possession narratives (in terms of both behavior and interpretation) suggest that scholars should respect the NT descriptions as potentially reflecting eyewitness accounts or sources. Anthropologists have documented spirit possession or analogous experiences in a majority of cultures, although interpretations of the experiences vary. In some cases, possession trance can produce violent behavior toward oneself (cf. Mark 5:5, 9:22) or others (cf. Acts 19:16), and some cultures associate it with publicly recognized, apparently superhuman feats of strength (cf. Mark 5:4) or knowledge (cf. Mark 1:24, Acts 16:16–17).

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.