Scope: Healing the sick is a manifestation of divine power in both Greco-Roman and Jewish religious traditions. Physical healing and exorcism are major components of Jesus's ministry in the Gospels and play a large role in the Acts of the Apostles (both canonical and apocryphal). The letters of Paul and James attest that a healing ministry continued in established Christian communities. As a visible sign of divine presence, healing tends to validate the healer as a divine agent and the movement the healer represented. Because healing can be faked, it is a controverted sign of divine power; because healing can bear several meanings, it is also an ambiguous experience of the divine. In early Christianity, healing is associated with five distinct motifs. They are a sign of divine presence, of the healer's compassion, of stages of spiritual transformation, of restoration to community, and of faith.
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