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A Review of Graham Twelftree, In the Name of Jesus: Exorcism Among Early Christians

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In this study of the divergence of perspective in the New Testament on the subject of exorcism, Twelftree provides the reader with a reliable introduction and guide. The consistent historical approach to the topic significantly limits the review of the biblical evidence (there is little attention to the literary/theological concerns of the NT authors) but means that a strong feature of the book is its review and critique of academic literature written in a similar vein. For the most part the interpretive conclusions are sound (albeit with some examples of special pleading). Specific areas of criticism are as follows: 1) a certain confusion attaches to the classifications Twelftree uses to describe the exorcisms of Jesus and his followers; 2) the discussion on possible reasons for the absence of exorcisms stories from the Fourth Gospel is unconvincing and unduly negative towards the exorcism stories of the synoptic tradition; and 3) the study would have gained much by considering exorcisms within a larger biblical theological context and through greater attention to literary and canonical approaches.

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