swine marathon from Gerasa - Mark 5:1 and Luke 8:26, 8:37

Steven Avery



Nope, they are not the same events. Luke and Mark occurs in the Gadara area, and Matthew occurs in Gergesenes (Kursi), you even show the distinction very well in the map. The Gadara region extended, with a port, to the Sea of Galilee in the southern part, toward the east, where the map has Ma'agen.

The two locales are unrelated geographically and are many miles away and they are not even contiguous, the Decapolis area of Hippos (Susita) intervening. The area closer to the northern Golan, with the cliff area right by the water, Gergesenes, was never called Gadara, the southern area (famous for an incredible hot springs). And there are about 10 distinct differences in the accounts, Mark and Luke agreeing, Matthew different, as confirmation. This makes a very nice study in scripture purity and precision, even chronology is involved.

Nothing occurs at Gerasa, that would be 35 miles away in Jordan, a swine marathon.

This is a major problem, a hard error, in the modern versions from the Alexandrian text, and the problem is also in the Vulgate.

(Modern Bible scholarship, stuck with the Critical Text errors, tends to simply say that Mark has geographical errors. And the skeptics and the errantists run with that conclusion. Those apologists stuck with the Critical Text error will always have 'answers', of a sort.)

The Vulgate and Peshitta have similar errors of harmonizing to one area, although with different names, Peshitta to Gadarenes, Vulgate to the marathon Gerasenes. To complete the harmonization triangle, the Jerusalem lectionary harmonizes to Gergesenes.

To give an example, the Decapolis region extended up to Hippos (near Kibbutz Ein Gev on the map) and that was below Gergesenes. While Gadara was part of the Decapolis region and thus you have:

Mark 5:20
And he departed,
and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him:
and all men did marvel.

Since the whole Gerasa (Gerasenes) error likely occurred by bumbling Egyptian scribes who would know well the name Gerasa but for whom Gergesenes would be a puzzle, you would expect Vaticanus and Sinaiticus to have the names wrong, and they fulfill expectations. (They have many geography blunders, e.g. Sinaiticus has 'Nazareth in Judea' and even in the modern versions is the infamous 'synagogues of Judea' in Luke 4:44, the list goes on, Sinaiticus even messes up Gadarenes as Gazarenes.)

Let's look at Mark 5:1 as an example, referenced above. In addition to the usual very strong Greek majority manuscript support, there is, given in LaParola, early support from the Syriac Diatessaron, the Syriac Peshitta and the Gothic line, in addition to the Origen analysis. The sister verses in Luke 8:26 and 8:37 add the Curetonian Syriac. And Zahn adds additional supports like the Onomastica Sacra of Eusebius, which is referenced by Jerome.

Mark 5:1
And they came over unto the other side of the sea,
into the country of the Gadarenes.

There is also strong and early Greek uncial support for the pure Bible text, LaParola gives as supporting Gadarenes as: A C E F G H K Π Σ

(Sometimes the NA-UBS apparatus hides a number of Byzantine uncials by a trickster methodology, however that likely does not apply here, in what is given by LaParola.)

Incidentally, Origen was very helpful on these geography issues, one reason why criticisms of Origen should be done with some caution as to the topic (geography and doctrine are very different). And in some cases, like here, Origen was clearly concerned with the fealty and accuracy of the Bible text, when faced with the mixed textual tradition. While Origen did not understand that there were dual accounts, or that the country of the Gadarenes extended to the Sea of Galilee, he understood well the nature of the Gerasenes corruption.

And it should also be noted that the apologetic for the corrupt text is rather wild. Examples, James Patrick Holding in Tektonics gives a rather absurd Milwaukee analogy, while Bruce Terry tries to make it all the Decapolis country. William L. Lane in 1974 says that somehow Gergesenes was called Gerasa in some undocumented and unknown way, this idea is simply a phantom argument with zero actual support. (Ironically, there actually is a 2nd Gadara, the second distant from the Sea of Galilee, these names are not mysteries.) These fallback positions are desperation measures, phantom apologetics for the modern versions here is rather awkward, in addition to being totally unnecessary, since it is all for a minority corruption. Better to drop the TR-AV animus, even if for only for a couple of verses, and simply embrace and appreciate the pure word of God. :)

Psalm 119:140
Thy word is very pure:
therefore thy servant loveth it.


There are some interesting points made by FSSL, and some fudgy ones.

Mark 5:1
And they came over unto the other side of the sea,
into the country of the Gadarenes.

The "country of the Gadarenes" is almost precisely on the opposite side of the sea from Capernaum, which is the region of the synagogue where Jesus taught and where much of his ministry took place.

Mark 2:1
And again he entered into Capernaum,
after some days;
and it was noised that he was in the house.

From an analysis we can see that the Markan account is chronologically in order in this section. Note, e.g. "the ship" in Mark 5:2 which relates directly to the ship of the calming of the seas.

Mark 4:35
And the same day,
when the even was come,
he saith unto them,
Let us pass over unto the other side.

However, as with going over all the differences between Mark and Luke compared to Matthew, the full chronology discussion is a survey that is beyond the current posts.

The geography simply does not match well Mark and Luke being Gergesenes.

Mark 5:20
And he departed,
and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him:
and all men did marvel.

The Decapolis, as I mentioned, works perfectly for Gadara, a major central Decapolis city, yet not Gergesenes, outside the Decapolis borders.

Luke 8:26
And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes,
which is over against Galilee.

Luke 8:26 as well, since Gergesenes is not "over against Galilee", yet it is a 100% accurate description for the Gadarene region. The Galilee region goes up to the Jordan, the city of Bet Shean is in the Decapolis region of Scythopolis and is the southern beginning of Galilee, extending up towards the Sea of Galilee. The Gadarene region is over against this region.

Notice that the NIV and the NLT go out of the way to "help" the corruption, by tampering this verse to read "which is across the lake from Galilee." Error begets error.


Textual Evidence

The evidence including uncials were mentioned in response to the poster above who thought that there was not solid evidence for Mark 5:1 Gadarenes. The textual evidence is very strong. It would take pages to go through all the evidences for the verses and variants, so the purpose was simply to use that as a point of response to the poster above. There always is "earlier" Greek uncial support for a modern version corruption, on almost any variant, since they, as a rule, follow Vaticanus.

One area where we agree: "This issue is not resolved by mss dating alone." Not even mss numbers. Nor ECW. For those of us who understand the purity of the Received Text, providentially given, those issues are corroborative, not probative.

And for those without the pure Bible, the issue will never be resolved. The editions of Lachmann, Alford, Tischendorf and Tregelles all disagreed. In fact, what the critical text cornfuseniks will do is simply take the error spoon-fed to them by Hort and Metzger, and then try to make excuses and hand-waves for the blatant swine marathon error in their version, which really only got there because of the errors in Vaticanus. And Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are loaded up with geographical errors, so the result is no surprise.

Or, you might claim to be following the latest in the textual criticism world. Then the paper "The Gadarene, Gerasene, and Gergesene Variants Reconsidered" by Peter J. Williams would tell you that the "modern editions have chosen the wrong reading in every instance". So you just would not know nuttin.


There definitely are hillsides in the Gadara region that fit well with the account. The Glenn Miller Christian Thinktank website goes into that in depth. He shows how the two locations both fit the basic swine needs.

Questions on Mark's Geographical Ignorance... Gadara versus Gerasa and the problem of the Long Trip Home

Glenn does not address chronology issues, and differences in the accounts, and a few other items.

And he tries, but really fails, to also allow Gerasenes with the false argument inherited from some Christian apologist writings that maybe the region of Gerasa extended 35 miles to the Sea of Galilee. This is why Gerasa is an easily understood blunder, even understood by the rare sensible consideration of lectio difficilior. The scribes far away never heard of Gergesenes and some text was easily smoothed to the well known Gerasa. (Clearly, with the number of variants, there was a 2-step and more process in textual changes.)

One critical point. Even if I were mistaken in there being two events (a long and fascinating discussion) the only pericoping that makes any possible sense at all is Gergesenes and Gadarenes. Gerasenes would remain a modern version blunder from the Vaticanus primacy text.

My assertion is that the two events understanding is the best Bible text explanation, and has been recognized by some writers. It is a good study, however it is interpretation, not scripture. John Lightfoot, e.g. equating Gergesenes with Girgashites saw that as the wider region. Either way, the modern version blunder of Gerasenes should be rejected for the pure Bible text. The only reason for the faux apologetics for the Gerasenes swine marathon is the TR-AV animus that is the way of the Hortian fog.

The nature of the mistaken pseudo-apologetics effort (using mostly Glenn Miller's info for now, more can be added) goes like this:

(1) we have the errant Gerasenes in our versions, which our Hortian puppet-meisters tell us is the right text, not the vile and tyrannical Received Text which is in (gasp) the dreaded AV

(2) our versions are, technically, preferably, not supposed to be errant

(although we can fall back on the Warfieldian "who knows what was in the original autographs, you have to prove that to claim an error ... and maybe they only wrote to their knowledge and understanding" types of arguments)

(Here is an example of the Warfieldian approach from Gleason Archer:

"scribal error substituting the name of Gerasa, possibly because at a later period the name of Gerasa had become more widely known than that of Gadara." - Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, 1982 p. 324-325

Acknowledge the error, but since we don't claim our texts are the autographs, it doesn't matter and errancy has not been demonstrated in the autographs, only our tangible, reading versions.)

ergo, let's try to work with the text we receive from Hort and Metzger and Aland and Martini:


(3a) Gerasenes must have been a name for Gergesenes or Gadarenes

(3b) Gerasa must have have extended to the Sea of Galilee, wider regional area

(3c) Gerasa is referring to Decapolis
[BBC] - also see Richard Thomas (R. T.) France

(3d) a deliberate, allowable error, as a literary device
[BEB, 857] - also Miller "more ‘recognizable’ to Lk/Mk’s readers"

(3e) the phantom city argument, maybe there was a second Gerasa
[Bock, Baker comm. On Luke] - also 3b

(3f) be ultra-creative - Gerasa ...“land of the foreigners?â€... an entire region
(GBL I.442–43).

(3g) acknowledge the error, these things happen
[ABD. 2:991] - Archer

(3h) Gerasa region extended 10-15 miles, why not 35 ?


The effort is circular, to the Hortian fog, since with the pure Bible none of this is even relevant. And it is kitchen sink apologetics as well. Try not to admit the simple truth, there is a hard error in the versions, the swine marathon, and throw out nuts and bolts and washers and scotch tape, hoping something will stick.

Psalm 119:140
Thy word is very pure:
therefore thy servant loveth it.

Continuing from my reply #5, the last post really on the topic, I want to mention another article that addresses the questions raised by FSSL.

The Demoniacs of Gadara - Gordon Franz

Gordon Franz defends the pure Bible reading, and combines the two accounts in the Gadarene region. In so doing, and in giving a good summary of some of the scholarship, it looks like any remaining questions of FSSL about geography are answered, and even the tombs question, which was not raised, is addressed.

This should be enough to help jettison the unnecessary faux apologetics defense of the modern version swine marathon corruption. While still leaving open the question of one account (at either location) or two events at two somewhat distant locations.


Steven Avery


Joined Dec 23, 2012 Messages 500 Reaction score 0 Points 16


Then we have the most recent scholarly analysis of the Gergesenes - Gadarenes - Gerasenes question. By Peter John Williams, who initiated the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog in 2005. A talk given at the Society of Biblical Literature in 2011, not yet written up for publication.

From the handout at SBL, Peter J. Williams concludes (after looking at various considerations like the Greek uncials and cursives, geography, scribal habits, lectio difficilior, the Hortian approach seconded by Sanday and today's CT apparatus uncertainty, the versional evidence, Origen and more):


The Gadarene, Gerasene, and Gergesene Variants Reconsidered

...if we suppose that the original readings were Gergesenes for Matthew and Gadarenes for Mark and Luke we explain more of the data far more simply. We explain the majority readings, and the minority ones too. Gerasenes arises as the less familiar Gergesenes is replaced by a more familiar term. The scribe may not even have been aware that this happened. Gadarenes spreads from two gospels (Mark and Luke) into some witnesses of Matthew, including some we now regard as important.

Peter Williams courteously sent me the notes from the talk by email, in a .doc attachment.


Simply another confirmation of the pure Bible reading. And the fact that the faux apologetics for the modern version blunder of Gerasenes is simply unnecessary .... and wrong.

Psalm 119:140
Thy word is very pure:
therefore thy servant loveth it.


As I make clear above, I have a preference for the two events concept, and allow that as simply an interpretation of scripture. Above, I mentioned John Lightfoot as an example of respectably working with the one event concept.

Either way, one event or two, I see that Peter J. Williams is very helpful in looking at the textual issues. And the key issue is the blunder of Gerasa and the faux apologetics for the swine marathon. Ultra-strained apologetics, all for a Hortian modern version corruption that is not scripture. Overall, an embarrassment, decrepit apologetics for a hard error that is not the word of God! This is unchanged whether one event or two.


The swine marathon is what the ultra-minority corruption actually reads, and it leads to all sorts of strange attempts to come up with "explanations".

First, on the Greek mss, here is Peter J. Williams discussing Mark 5:1:

... Text und Textwert for Mark 5:1: γαδαρηνων (Gadarenes) has a massive numerical preponderance with the support of 1562 Greek manuscripts. Where might this numerical preponderance come from? .... The 66 manuscripts with γεργεσηνων (Gergesenes) in Mark are, I believe, readily explained by assimilation to the majority reading in Matthew. So the view that Gerasenes is prior in Mark struggles to explain the numerical preponderance of γαδαρηνων in manuscripts of Mark.

Peter J. Williams points out that the idea of an Origen origin for Gergesenes is essentially untenable based on the documentary evidences, including this Greek preponderance.

The faux apologetics arises to try to make excuses for the ultra-minority corruption. Glenn Miller managed to pack in about seven distinct faux apologetics attempts in one short article. Simply because he is stuck defending modern version corruptions, simply because he does not understand the strength of the pure Bible reading. This is likely a record for faux apologetic attempts on one variant.

Next, I would like to give a bit more about the Midrash Zuta, from Song of Songs, which is also referenced by Peter J. Williams.


Returning to the question of scholarship that works with the swine marathon, any scholarship that is simply a straight scholarship approach, stuck with the modern version corruption, will acknowledge the problem, and essentially try to blame the NT authors for an error (rather than say that the swine actually ran 35 miles).

A good example is:

A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew: Commentary on Matthew 8-18 (1991)
William David Davies, Dale C. Allison, Jr.

"most modern scholars have concluded that Mark originally wrote (Gerasenes), Matthew (Gadarenes), (see Metzger, p. 23-4, 84,145). If in this they are correct, then we are dealing with two regions—that of the Gadarenes (Matthew) and that of the Gerasenes (Mark, Luke). Gadara ( = Umm Qeis), the capital of a toparchy, was about six miles south-east of the Sea of Galilee, Gerasa (=Jerash, a city of Peraea) about thirty-three miles. Both cities, which were members of the Decapolis, are troublesome because the texts very strongly imply a location near water."

Gadarenes, however, is not at all troublesome (note the 1991 date, before the port archaeological discovery, although that was understood by some earlier). Garasenes, the swine marathon, is very troublesome.


Thus standard scholarship would be to see simply an error, contradiction, ironically including the common abuse of lectio difficilior to argue for error (Peter J. Williams discusses this aspect as well).

The Encounter of Jesus with the Gerasene Demoniac:
Jostein Ã…dna

—"a man from Gerasa," seemingly taking for granted that the man Jesus encountered was related to the famous city of Gerasa, situated east of Jordan near the river Jabbok, about 55 km south east of the Sea of Galilee, and belonging to the Decapolis (cf. Mark 5:20).... Actually, the acute geographical problem of the reference to "the region of the Gerasenes" in a story presupposing the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee as its scene strengthens this reading considerably as lectio difficilior among the extant variants.... The demonstration that "Gerasenes" is original in our story reveals a geographical contradiction within it between the inland localisation of Gerasa without any lake in its surrounding region and the presupposed "sea" (θάλασσα) at the site of the event. (p. 294-296)


Here is how this is handled in a more evangelical commentary.

Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (2008)
David L. Turner

Assuming the historicity of the pericope, γεργεσηνων (Gerasenes) is least likely, since Gerasa (modern Jerash). a city of the Decapolis, was more than thirty miles southeast of the Sea of Galilee ...

Inversely, the acceptance of Gerasenes means the non-historicity of the account when you are stuck with the modern version corruption.


Similarly, Robert H. Gundry is an example of a writer who, well informed on the scholarship and initially stuck with the modern version error, wanted to avoid the faux apologetics.

"...Gerasa lies about thirty miles southeast of the nearest point on the southeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee ... i.e. too far away for the city folks' arrival at lakeside an apparently very short while after Jesus performed the exorcism"

Mark: A Commentary On His Apology For The Cross, Chapters 1 - 8
Robert H. Gundry

So Gundry ended up using Gergesenes as his text in his Mark commentary, "hesitantly".


Clearly, if Turner or Gundry had accepted the pure Bible, their decision would have been much simply, they would not have to go against any Hortian textual sludge.

Yours in Jesus,
Steven Avery


Peter J. Williams notes:

"What we can say is that, at the least, Origen did not invent the location. The small Midrash on Song of Songs, known as Midrash Zuta refers to a Gergeshta on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee."

This has been mentioned en passant a couple of times before, including in the FFF discussion. And I wanted to confirm the reference to the "eastern shore ...".

An Italian web-site, translated through google, is of some assistance.

Gherghesa, Gerasa o Gadara?
Dove è avvenuto il miracolo di Gesù?

Rabbi Nehemiah said, "When the Holy One, blessed be He, to Israel shows the graves of Gog and Magog, the feet of the Shechinah will be on the Mount of Olives and the tombs of Gog and Magog will be open from the south of Kidron Valley up to Gergeshta on the eastern side of Lake Tiberias. " And he came until he came [niknesah, read instead, "Naosa," that is, Nysa Scitiopoli] "(Song of Solomon 1:4 Zuta).

According to this midrash, the tombs of Gog and Magog will extend from Jerusalem to Gergeshta (= Gherghesa), which is described to be on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee. So, we know it really existed a place called Gherghesa to the east of the lake. Although its location was still unknown at the time of Origen, Gherghesa was apparently desolate: therefore, Origen called it "old city."

Interestingly, the first reference to this Midrash in the context of Gergesenes in the New Testament looks to be as recent as 1996, in papers by Mendel Nun and Ze'ev Safrai.

The textual faux apologetics for the modern versions was largely based on the mistaken idea that Origen had actually invented and emended Gergesenes into the manuscript line. This Metzger-style error (I plan to check where it began) is behind the ultra-minority reading, which at heart is simply the normal Vaticanus primacy approach, with excuses made post-facto.

Peter J. Williams mentions another aspect of this:

As for the suggestion that Origen brought the reading ‘Gergesenes’ into existence, I struggle with the speed with which this conjecture would need to have spread. The circulation of Origen’s commentary on John was probably not huge.

Yours in Jesus,

Continues on post #35 36 46 50 51 53 58
Some evolution
79 review of some posts
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