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Legion λεγίων

(870 words)

Author(s): H. D. Betz
I. Name Legion as a name of a demon occurs only in Mark 5.9, Mark 15 and the parallel in Luke 8.30. The meaning is explained in the context, when the demon replies: ‘Legion is my name, for we are many’ ( Mark 5.9). A somewhat different explanation occurs in Luke 8.30: ‘Legion, for many demons entered into him’ (sc. the Gerasene demoniac). The form of the name may also vary in the manuscripts, but legiōn seems more original, while legeōn is mostly the result of correction. The name is derived from the Latin legio, the designation of the largest unit in the Roman army (between 4,200 and …

Authorities ἐξουσίαι

(726 words)

Author(s): H. D. Betz
I. Name The plural ‘authorities’ ( exousiai) functions, strictly speaking, not as a name but as a cultic epithet denoting celestial forces (see Gladigow 1981:1217–1221, 1226–1231). The term is derived from Gk. ἐξουσία and corresponds to the verb ἔξεστιν (‘have permission, possibility, authority’). The designation then refers to those who have been given authority, the bearers of authority. Characteristically, in the NT (e.g. Eph. 3.10, Eph. 6.12; Col. 1.16; 1 Pet. 3.22) the plural form of the term always occurs together with similar notions in liturgical formulae. II. Identity T…

Dynamis δύναμις

(2,049 words)

Author(s): H. D. Betz
I. Name Before becoming a divine name or epithet, ‘power’ ( dynamis) has had a long and diversified history. As name or epithet, ‘power’ can be used in many different ways in biblical and post-biblical literature. This usage must be distinguished from more general notions of divine power. All of antiquity assumed that deities have power, dispense power, and interfere in human life with their power. The degree of power deities were believed to control determined their status and place in hierarchies as well…