A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

Home | About | Alternative Health | Contact

ever, is not wholly satisfactory. In the previous chapter we saw how the existence of Satan became an article of religious belief among the Jews in the Persian period (538-333 B.C.) and that it remained as such until the Christian era is certain. Undoubtedly some of Jesus' contemporaries did believe in Satan but the belief was not universal. The Jews were divided into two sections whose ideas about life and death were in direct contradiction to each other, namely, the Pharisees and Sadducees. Of the latter comparatively little is known but much can be learned by reading between the lines. Drawn chiefly from the priestly clan, they were the most conservative of theological schools of thought, refusing to believe either in a future life or in the existence of angels. It is not unlikely that scholars in such a frame of mind would also reject the belief in the existence of devils. Their rivals, the Pharisees, held the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead, and with it the belief in angels and evil spirits. From the Gospels it is evident that Jesus was well acquainted with the theology of both schools and some of the incidents described show that He was approached by individuals of both parties who brought perplexing questions to Him. The way in which He answered shows deep knowledge of the controversies and that He was trying to reconcile the opposing factions. (E-g. His answer to the question about the resurrection, Mark xii, 18-27.) Yet His criticism of Phariseeism is much more prominent in the Gospels than that of His attitude to the Sadducees. There is not a single authenticated reference to any severity He manifested towards them, nor any sign of disapproval of their teaching on the subject of good and evil spirits. Equally, there is no commendation of it. The temptation narrative cannot be accepted as literally true. It may be a pictorial representation of