Steve SchroederIn this fascinating addition to the vast and ever expanding body of historical Jesus literature, Davies' unique contribution is his application of comparative anthropological and psychological research into spirit possession to the historical Jesus. He depicts the Jesus of history as a spirit-possessed healer whose healing was effected by induction of spirit possession analogous to the psychotherapeutic techniques of Milton Erickson. One of the more intriguing results of Davies' approach is that it reunites the Jesus of history with the Christ of faith, thus "solving" a perennial problem for historical Jesus research. In shifting attention from Jesus as teacher to Jesus as healer (or therapist), Davies also makes a potentially important contribution to theologically informed discussion of the teacher's role. In theological discussion of the work of Jesus, that role has often been defined (as Davies assumes) as ideological indoctrination or "transmission" of information. If Davies' discussion reminds readers of the more venerable definition of teaching as "turning the soul," it will have provided an invaluable service, whether or not the picture of Jesus as therapist proves more convincing than the many available alternatives.
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