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Gerasene [1]

( Γερασηνός ), an inhabitant of Gerasa (q.v.). Several MSS. read Γερασηνῶν instead of Γεργεσηνῶν , in  Matthew 8:28; but the city of Gerasa lay too far from the Sea of Tiberias to admit the possibility of the miracles having been wrought in its vicinity. If the reading Γερασηνῶν be the true one, the Χώρα , "district," must then have been very large, including Gadara and its environs; and Matthew thus uses a broader appellation, where Mark and Luke use a more specific one. This is not impossible, as Jerome (ad Obad.) states that Gilead was in his day called Gerasa, and Origen affirms that Γερασηνῶν was the ancient reading (Opp. 4:140). (See Gadara).

The nature of Origen's argument makes this statement very doubtful. It looks like a bold hypothesis to get over a difficulty (see Alford, ad loc.). The rival Gergesa, however, is also mentioned by Eusebius and Jerome. The latter thus writes: "Hodieque super montem viculus demonstratur juxta stagnum Tyberiadis in quod porci praecipitati sunt" (Onomast. s.v.). Thomson thinks he has discovered Gergesa as a ruin called Kersa or Gersa, on the bank of wady Semak, east of the lake. He describes it as "within a few rods of the shore, and an immense mountain rises directly above it, in which are ancient tombs... . The lake is so near the base of the mountain, that the swine rushing madly down it could not stop, but would be hurried on into the water and drowned" (Land and Book, 2:34-38). It is uncertain which reading has the highest authority, and consequently these conjectures are very doubtful (see, however, Ellicott's Lectures on the Life of our Lord, page 188, note; Van de Velde, Memoir, page 311; Reland, pages 502, 807). (See Gergesene).