Is exorcism biblical

"Criss-cross" on July 25th: "The Bible Hunters" and "Exorcism - The Fight with the Devil"

Vienna (OTS) - A sensational find in a desert monastery brought greater clarity to the biblical texts in the 19th century - these have been handed down in thousands of manuscripts and fragments. The manuscripts differ from each other. Which raises the question: do we have significantly changed texts today? “Kreuz und quer” - presented by Doris Appel - will show an exciting film on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 at 10.30 p.m. on ORF 2 with the documentary “The Bible Hunters” by Tilman Remme (part 2 will follow on August 1) cinematic reconstruction of the search for the historical authenticity of the Bible. At 11:25 p.m. Konrad Szołajski's documentary “Exorcism - The Fight with the Devil” is on the “criss-cross” program.

“The Bible Hunters - In Search of Historical Truth” - A film by Tilman Remme

How close are our Bible translations today to the original text? In the 19th century, when one became more aware of deviations in the written tradition, this question was startling. It led to a real hunt by scientists for the oldest possible biblical manuscripts. In the two-part "criss-cross" documentary "The Bible Hunters", the archaeologist and historian Jeff Rose follows the researchers' heels in their search for traces of papyrus and parchment in Egypt and Syria.

One of them was the German biblical scholar and Protestant theologian Konstantin von Tischendorf. After information in Cairo, he set off in 1844 with a camel caravan to the remote St. Catherine's monastery in the Sinai desert. After days of traveling and tireless research in the monastery, he finally made a sensational discovery: He came across the oldest comprehensive manuscript of the Old and New Testament, which had been neglected by monks until then. The bound manuscript became world famous under the name “Codex Sinaiticus”. The Codex, which is now kept in the British Library in London, belongs to the very reliable "Alexandrian text type" of the Bible tradition. Thus the "Sinaiticus" is considered to be one of the most important biblical text witnesses - it is dated to the 4th century.

What upset many when it was published by Tischendorf at the time: The Codex Sinaiticus offered - in addition to other text deviations from the usual Bible translations - a shorter conclusion to the oldest of the four New Testament Gospels: According to the manuscript, the Gospel of Mark does not end with the apparitions of the risen Christ to the apostles, but with the women who flee in fear and horror after the resurrection message that they received from an angel in the empty tomb. This offensive conclusion is discussed in biblical studies to this day. Most likely, this abrupt ending was, in fact, the original ending of the Gospel of Mark.

Tischendorf's achievements encouraged a new generation of "Bible hunters" to travel to Egypt as well. Among them were two twin sisters from the Scottish west coast: Agnes and Margaret Smith came from a Presbyterian family and enjoyed the best education - especially in Cambridge. Equipped with photo equipment, they too moved to the Sinai Peninsula. But in the 1880s it was almost impossible as a woman - and with a Protestant creed - to enter an Orthodox male monastery. The twin sisters and their entourage had to wait for several days in front of St. Catherine's monastery before the monks trusted them and let them in. But the effort was worth it: you first came across an old manuscript with pious texts. But under this manuscript a much older one finally emerged. Because writing materials were expensive and there were enough Bibles in the monastery, monks had erased the biblical text centuries earlier using the resources of the time and overwritten it with texts from church fathers. After the discovery of this so-called palimpsest, the deciphering of the original Bible manuscript in Aramaic - the language of Jesus and his disciples - became a sensation in Europe. The Old Syrian-Aramaic Codex is one of the most important New Testament text witnesses today.

“Exorcism - The Fight with the Devil” - a film by Konrad Szołajski

Mental abnormalities that were interpreted as being possessed by demons or even by the incarnate are now treated psychiatrically. In Catholic Poland, however, the number of those who see the devil and his fallen angels at work has been increasing again for several years: they call an exorcist to help, who is supposed to drive out the demons through ritual and holy water. Konrad Szołajski's documentation deals with this phenomenon, shows concrete examples and allows those affected, relatives and critics to have their say.

Karolina (30) has found that she is erotically drawn to women. In their strict Catholic environment, it is obviously impossible to think of anything else than seeing this predisposition as an illness. Even more: she must be possessed by the devil - Karolina is soon convinced herself. A nun reinforced this point. The religious knew immediately that her "problems" were not of a psychological but of a spiritual nature. So Karolina seeks help from an exorcist and a psychiatrist who also specializes in obsession in a religious sense. A first encounter with the two ultimately turns out differently than Karolina expected.

17-year-old Agnieszka also grew up in a strictly Catholic family. She feels an inner aversion to religious rituals and going to church on Sundays. A clue to her parents and pastor that she must be possessed. Let the demon that torments them go away. But he doesn't think about it. The psychiatrist Jerzy Aleksandrowicz sees clear indications that the girl is going through a huge conflict between her religious upbringing and certain experiences that make further religious practice impossible for her. Nevertheless, Agnieszka kept her faith. "What happened there shows all signs of abuse," says Aleksandrowicz with conviction.

Basia (21), on the other hand, has undergone a serious change in personality. She is often depressed, sleeps poorly, and cannot get out of bed. Again and again she has seizures in which she is not with herself, but screams and lashes out. Basia's parents can only explain this behavior through demonic possession. The girl has already been exorcised several times, but it did not help her. The Catholic priest and psychotherapist P. Stanisław Radoń says that Basia suffers from anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders, from which she is completely controlled. Regarding the general trend in Poland to visit exorcists, Radoń names a problem: Exorcists would often expressly forbid their “patients” to visit a psychiatrist. Radoń's sober conclusion: "I can say with absolute certainty that I've never met someone possessed - and none of the exorcists I know guaranteed either."

The documentary also shows the increasing influence of the free Pentecostal churches in Poland, in which healings and exorcisms play an important role, also in the country's Catholic Church.

The broadcasts are available on the video platform ORF-TVthek ( - subject to existing online license rights - as a live stream and seven days after the TV broadcast as video-on-demand.

The entire TV range of ORF - ORF eins, ORF 2, ORF III, ORF SPORT + and 3sat - can also be received in the HD standard. All information about ORF-HD reception and the setting of the new HD offers can be found on the website, the ORF service hotline 0800/090 010 provides personal assistance free of charge from all over Austria.

Inquiries & contact: