Q&A: Did Jesus meet the demoniacs in Gaderenes or Gerasenes?

Did Jesus meet the demoniacs in Gaderenes or Gerasenes?

Question

The Bible can't seem to get its geography correct. Was the demoniac miracle at Gaderenes or Gerasenes? (Matthew 8:28; Mark 5:1-2; Luke 8:26-27)

Answer

Matthew 8:28 And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed[f] men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way.

Mark 5:1-2 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus[b] had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.

Luke 8:26-27 Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons.

The two names are interchangeable. More specifically, the Gadarenes dwelt in Gadera and the Gergesenes resided in Gergesa. Both neighboring cities were to the east of the Sea of Galilee. Gergesa was a little-known small village. Gadara was a much larger and more well-known city, and Matthew identifies the location of Jesus' miracle closer to the larger city. This is common even in communication today. For instance, Disney World is actually located in Buena Vista, FL. You have probably heard of the larger city, Orlando, but the smaller city of Buena Vista not so much. There’s no discrepancy, just a common use of language in communication.

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Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).