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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Warding Off Evil: Apotropaic Tradition in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Synoptic Gospels
Morris, Michael J.

Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017 pp. xv + 296. $134.00

Series Information
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, 2/451

Description: In this study, Michael J. Morris examines aspects of synoptic gospel demonology; specifically, human responses to demonic evil. It is clear that early Christian demonology can be more fully understood against the background of early Jewish traditions. In the Dead Sea Scrolls, for instance, there are two fundamental ways by which protection against demons is sought. The first anti-demonic method is “exorcism,” and the second is characterized by its preventative nature and is typically referred to as “apotropaism.” Although many contributions have been made on the topic of exorcism in the gospels, less attention has been paid to the presence of apotropaic features in the gospel texts. Therefore, Michael J. Morris offers a timely examination of apotropaic tradition in early Judaism and its significance for demonological material in the synoptic gospels. He shows how the presence of apotropaisms not only shape conversations about early Christian demonology, but also have broader implications for the understanding of evil, eschatology, and the depiction of Jesus in relation to each gospel.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Synoptic Gospels, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Religions, Social-Scientific Approaches, Dead Sea Scrolls

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Review by Archie T. Wright
Published 7/30/2020
Citation: Archie T. Wright, review of Michael J. Morris, Warding Off Evil: Apotropaic Tradition in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Synoptic Gospels, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2020).

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