Inhabitants of Gadara, known from an alleged miracle of Jesus (Matt. viii.; Mark v.; Luke viii.) in which he transferred the demons afflicting a man to a number of swine, that thereupon rushed down a steep hill and perished. From the readings of the best texts and from the unsuitability of the locality around Gadara it appears that the proper reading should be "Gerasenes" and the place located at Karsa, on the left bank of the Wadi Samak, near the sea of Galilee. A discussion occurred between Professor Huxley and Mr. Gladstone in "The Nineteenth Century" for 1892 as to the morality of the act, the critical questions being whether (1) Gerasenes were Jews; and (2) if so, was it lawful for them to keep swine? As regards the first question, it would appear that that section of the country was chiefly inhabited by pagans in the first century, and Gerasa is at any rate included by Schürer among the Hellenistic cities ("Geschichte," ii. 141-144). As to the second question, there is no doubt of the illegality, from a ritual point of view, of Jews keeping swine (B. B. vii. 7). The Gemara on the passage gives a historical foundation for the practise in the times of Aristobulus.
- The Nineteenth Century, 1892, passim;
- Cheyne, Encyc. Bibl. s.v.;
- Wünsche, Neue Beiträge zur Erläuterung der Evangelien aus Talmud und Midrasch, p. 119.