Kursi (April, 2005)
This was a view from a small shrine down to the Byzantine Church built to commemorate Jesus' miracle of taming a fierce demon possessed man.
MARK 5  (ASV -- 1901 in the public domain/copyright expired)

 1 And they came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes (Gadarenes or Gergesenes in some ancient manuscripts).
And when he was come out of the boat, straightway there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
who had his dwelling in the tombs: and no man could any more bind him, no, not with a chain;
because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been rent asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: and no man had strength to tame him.
 5 And always, night and day, in the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out, and cutting himself with stones.
 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshipped him;
 7 and crying out with a loud voice, he saith, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God? I adjure thee by God, torment me not.
 8 For he said unto him, Come forth, thou unclean spirit, out of the man.
 9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he saith unto him, My name is Legion; for we are many.
And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.
Now there was there on the mountain side a great herd of swine feeding.
And they besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.
And he gave them leave. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered into the swine: and the herd rushed down the steep into the sea, in number about two thousand; and they were drowned in the sea.
And they that fed them fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they came to see what it was that had come to pass.
And they come to Jesus, and behold him that was possessed with demons sitting, clothed and in his right mind, even him that had the legion: and they were afraid.
16 And they that saw it declared unto them how it befell him that was possessed with demons, and concerning the swine.
And they began to beseech him to depart from their borders.
And as he was entering into the boat, he that had been possessed with demons besought him that he might be with him.
And he suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go to thy house unto thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and how he had mercy on thee.
And he went his way, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men marvelled.

During Byzantine times this church (near the center of photo) was built along a five kilometer stretch of the east coast where the steep slopes north and south of the church were relatively close to the water.  This church near the foot of the ridge was near the junction of roads 92 and 789.  There were a few natural overhanging ledges in the limestone cliffs that might be described as caves.  There were also some square or rectangular openings described by some as tombs in the sides of the hill within a kilometer NE and SE of the hill side shrine at Kursi.  These caves were dug into conglomerate (sedimentary rock).  

The Decapolis of the Gentiles was close to this shore.  The Jews did not eat pork nor keep swine, but those of the Decapolis region did.  Hippos (Susita) was two kilometers above En Gev about five kilometers south of Kursi.  One April morning there were east winds howling down from the Susita site high above En Gev and raising waves in the lake west of Shittim Beach.  Tall reeds were bent over sideways and there were large standing waves out in the lake.  The winds that caused the waves that almost swamped Jesus' boat as he crossed to this side might have been these east winds said to have occurred in the winter and spring.  In the summer the gusting wind that caused white caps was out of the west in the afternoon and sometimes into the night.  There were also occasional winter storms that caused the lake to be turned into waves that blew from the west to the east.  Some severe storms lasted more than 12 hours:

In 2006 I hiked on the paved road to Hippos a flat topped hill, a mesa, above En Gev.  The walk from the En Gev to the Hippos city ruins took about 55 minutes as I paused for picture taking along the way.  The city was about 900 feet above En Gev.  Near the top there were a few rock caves of the type delusional homeless people might have sought shelter in.  In the Roman era Hebrews used caves as tombs for burial of their loved ones.  The best burial sites had narrow entrances that were sealed after burial to prevent animal and bird scavengers from scattering the bones of their loved ones.  

In some early Biblical manuscripts the demoniac was from Gadara; in other manuscripts he was from Gerasa or Gergesa.  Some indicated they thought Gergesa was the village in the area of the Kursi church ruins.  Gadara was also part of the Graeco-Roman Decapolis near the SE edge of the lake Galilee/Chinnereth in Jordan.  From Gadara built upon the highland in Jordan; the lake Galilee was visible.  It was above Hammat Gader.  Eusebius published the location of Gergesa at Kursi. 

A discussion of the variants Gadara, Gerasa, Gergesa at:

Where Wadi Samakh empties into the lake near Ashalon Beach there are some low steep banks.  The flow of the stream there is seasonal.  Elsewhere on the lake there are steep banks along the shore also.   The lake level may be lower than in ancient times as the outlet of the Jordan R. was lowered in order to construct a hydroelectric station.  

It is easier to imagine pigs running off a cliff accidentally and dieing from the fall than running into the water drowning as in most places on this side of the lake the beach has a shallow drop off.  Near Kursi the drop off was steeper as recorded by a previous explorer.  Herds of swine running into the sea like lemmings have not been widely documented.  Once a deer jumped off the top level of a parking garage and deer following him did the same.  They all died.  Spirits jumping from a person to animals is probably a corrupt observation written in terms in use 2000 years ago to explain some bizarre event or story.  Some mentally ill people claimed to be different people combined into one as in a split personality disorder.  Such a one possessed with violence and antisocial behavior might have been unwelcome in towns, but lived outside of town in cave tombs.  Jesus was supposed to have tamed the wild man and made him gentle enough to find a place in the community.  He told him to return to his people and publish the great things God had done for him. 

In his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:38) Jesus advised his audience:  

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’  39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also."    

Less violence erupted with this teaching.  A slap on the cheek would not result in war.  Violence is difficult to tame.   


Central aisle of church -- seating on benches or floor (April 2005)

Bird mosaic floor - Kursi (April 2005)

Another Discussion of the location of the Gadarene Demoniac and the Swine at Israel Photos IV

Parable of the Mustard Seed
     A Mustard Field Along Highway 87-North Shore of Galilee
     Mustard Seeds in the Palm of a Hand
     A Branching Mustard Plant Near the Jordan River/Bethsaida
     Mustard Field March 1999
     Mustard Flowers
Upper Most Seats of the Synagogue

The Fig Tree
     Mt of Olives Fig Tree April 12-13, 2005
     Fig and Pomegranate trees below Siloam in Jerusalem
     Israel Photos II fig tree page
     Sycomore Fig Tree
The Good Shepherd
The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats
     Goat Herder
Ritual Cleansing
     The Olive Harvest of Samaria
     Mt. Ebal
     Olive Tree
Pearl of Great Price
A First Century Synagogue at Gamala
     View from the Vulture Overlook
     Overview of Gamala
Modern Galilee Fishing Boats

Caves and/or tombs
Steep Slope Near the Lake
     Kursi southwestern face

Feeding the 5,000
     On the Mountain
     Walking on Water

     Ramot-Zelon area
     Alternate location
Mt. Hermon
The Pool(s) of Bethesda in Jerusalem

     Healing Pools
     Southern Pool
     Crusader Chapel and St. Ann Church
The Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem
     Gihon Spring
     Hezekiah's Tunnel
     Overlook of Siloam
Tower of Siloam
A Watch Tower in a Vineyard/Olive Grove
     Grape Vines at Beth Horan

Mt. Precipice
     South Face
     Over the edge
     Measuring Line
     View of Nazareth from near Megiddo
     The Basilica of the Annunciation
Healing a Paralytic in Capernaum
Waterskins and Wineskins
The Fish and the Coin
A Denarius
Casting out a demon
The Road to Jericho
     Old Roman Road
     Wilderness Above Jericho

     Old Jericho
Western Wall
Gethsemane and the Cave of  Gethsemane
Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Rolling Stone Tombs - Jerusalem
     Other Rolling Stone Tombs

Solar Power in Israel

Salt of the earth

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