The Gadarene Swine
. . . .There are passages from Greek and Latin literature in which petitioners beg the gods to transfer an evil from one place to another, or from one person to another. It's almost as if the amount of evil in the world is constant, and evil cannot be destroyed but can only change location . . . .Michael has very several interesting examples of this underlying thought (read the post). The same assumption seems to underly Matt. 12.43-45:
43"When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation."(Par. Luke 11.24-26).
12:43 ὅταν δὲ τὸ ἀκάθαρτον πνεῦμα ἐξέλθῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου διέρχεται δι' ἀνύδρων τόπων ζητοῦν ἀνάπαυσιν καὶ οὐχ εὑρίσκει 44 τότε λέγει εἰς τὸν οἶκόν μου ἐπιστρέψω ὅθεν ἐξῆλθον καὶ ἐλθὸν εὑρίσκει σχολάζοντα σεσαρωμένον καὶ κεκοσμημένον 45 τότε πορεύεται καὶ παραλαμβάνει μεθ' ἑαυτοῦ ἑπτὰ ἕτερα πνεύματα πονηρότερα ἑαυτοῦ καὶ εἰσελθόντα κατοικεῖ ἐκεῖ καὶ γίνεται τὰ ἔσχατα τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκείνου χείρονα τῶν πρώτων οὕτως ἔσται καὶ τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ τῇ πονηρᾷ
Update (Thursday, 22.00): Michael Gilleland comments further on Laudator Temporis Acti.