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What does the phrase "I am Legion, for we are many" mean?

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dreamer59 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 8, 2009 at 11:31 AM via web

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What does the phrase "I am Legion, for we are many" mean?

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parkerlee | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted January 8, 2009 at 11:09 PM (Answer #1)

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This is a Biblical allusion to an incident where Jesus healed a maniac who ranted and raved as an animal, cut himself with stones and lived among tombs. When Jesus asked "Who are you?", he was not speaking to the man but to the demons which possessed him. Through the man they replied," I am Legion (meaning 'many'), for we are many." The evil spirits leaving the man went into a herd of pigs which in turn went wild, plunging themselves into the Sea of Galilee and drowning there. Because of "collateral damage" having been done, Jesus was asked by the local authorities to leave the area. So He did.

Three of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke but not John) give variable accounts of this. The Gospels were first person testimonials of Jesus' life and ministry as they were written by the disciples bearing those names. They are the first four books of the New Testament.

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daskalos | High School Teacher | Salutatorian

Posted August 19, 2011 at 11:42 PM (Answer #2)

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This quote is taken from the New Testament of the Christian Bible. How can I better explain it than by showing you the source in the book of Mark, chapter five, starting in verse 2 (New International Version):

Mark 5:2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”

9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

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noahvox2 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted November 7, 2011 at 11:14 AM (Answer #3)

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We should also note that the "legion" (Latin: legio) is one of the basic units in the Roman military system. So, when the demonic presence identifies itself as being named Legion, this alludes to Roman military term.

Roman legions were divided into 60 "centuries". As the root cent- indicates, a Roman military century, in theory, could have 100 soldiers. Thus, a Roman legion could, in theory, have as many as 6000 men. In practice, however, Roman legions seldom had that many active soldiers in each century and most scholarly sources I have seen argue that the typical Roman legion probably numbered between 4200 and 4800.

Mark's text at 5:13, though, may give a more precise hint at the number of demons in this particular "legion", since in this verse the Gospel writer tells us that the herd of pigs into which Jesus sent the demons numbered about 2,000.

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wickedlyfun | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 29, 2010 at 10:10 AM (Answer #4)

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(orgin of the word :legion from the herbrew term legio or (ש"ע) לגיון; המון, מספר רב

Legion first mentioned in the "Gospel of Mark" 5:9 to mean possesion of many demons or hence "we are many" Verse in the book of Mark:

And he( jesus) asked him ( the man possesed) what is thy name, and he anwsered saying my name is legion, for we are many.

It is futhermore mentioned in luke and matthew as well. The books are in this order: matthew, mark, luke

if speaking about rational physics it means : a wide open space

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samjazael123 | Student, College Freshman | Salutatorian

Posted October 14, 2011 at 8:17 AM (Answer #6)

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To me this represents "rebellion" & "symbolism" in fact legion just means more than one follower and when he says his name is legion the demon probably is a demonic leader of some sort so when it comes up to a certain extent he might have been more than possessed, he might have been possessed in a more darker concept that meant he was possessed by a very powerful demon. Most people think excorscisms are in fact not real, but their is a story of a young girl that was possessed during the reformation era in which she cried out in aramaic "those who dare go against thee the reformers are the followers of satan" so that girl had no knowledge of aramaic at all. this lead to a spiritual war betweem the catholics & the refromers while the means of showing a different view of excorscism's. It ended up that the reformers power of prayer did not work but the power of the catholic churches rituals won the battle. The final words of the demon where:

 

You have won thy heart, but you have not won my soul.

 

This confused many of the reformers, because demons aren't suppose to have a heart right?

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lnj10 | Student, Grade 9 | Honors

Posted February 27, 2012 at 7:26 AM (Answer #7)

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This is a Biblical allusion to an incident where Jesus healed a maniac who ranted and raved as an animal, cut himself with stones and lived among tombs. When Jesus asked "Who are you?", he was not speaking to the man but to the demons which possessed him. Through the man they replied," I am Legion (meaning 'many'), for we are many." The evil spirits leaving the man went into a herd of pigs which in turn went wild, plunging themselves into the Sea of Galilee and drowning there. Because of "collateral damage" having been done, Jesus was asked by the local authorities to leave the area. So He did.

Three of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke but not John) give variable accounts of this.

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susanbf714 | Middle School Teacher | eNoter

Posted March 3, 2012 at 9:04 AM (Answer #8)

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Legion is the name given by the possessed man to let the Christ know that he was not just dealing with one demon....he would be dealing with many demons. Does not indicate exactly how many possessed the man. The only clue we are given is that there were "many."? But that is irrelevant. Doesn't matter if there were 100 or 100,000. What is revelant is that Christ was the only person to drive out "legion" and make the man well again...because Jesus had great compassion and love for all people.
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rozenthalm | High School Teacher | Honors

Posted August 23, 2011 at 9:53 AM (Answer #9)

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The Christian New Testament gospels of Mark, Luke and Matthew describe an incident in which Jesus meets a man, or men, possessed by demons who, when asked what their name is, respond:
"My name is Legion, for we are many."(In Latin) "Nomen mihi Legio est, quia multi sumus."

In Latin Legio means to gather, choose, collect, pass through, read, appoint, select 

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_does_lego_mean_in_DanishIn_Latin#ixzz1VuYQM3Ok

 

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ella301 | Student, Grade 10 | Salutatorian

Posted September 18, 2011 at 12:15 PM (Answer #10)

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This is a Biblical allusion to an incident where Jesus healed a maniac who ranted and raved as an animal, cut himself with stones and lived among tombs. When Jesus asked

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rhondaj1 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 22, 2011 at 7:08 AM (Answer #11)

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It comes from the parable that Jesus told about the possessed man that was in the tombs. Jesus told the spirt to leave him and the reply was that they were legion, we are many and Jesus ordered the spirits out where they entered into a herd of swine and ran off a cliff into the sea.

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niranjana28 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 3, 2011 at 8:24 PM (Answer #12)

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This phrase has been taken from the movie "ghost rider". This phrase is used by a ghost who is not single and has captured many other spirits to join in with him. This is the meaning of this phrase. He calls himself legion because now he is not single but has many other spirits who has joined this soul

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lorenjolie | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 26, 2011 at 10:01 AM (Answer #13)

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the demon through the man says, "You might as well just call me Legion... for i represent my teams' intentions and there are many on my team. We are a group of demons against you."

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matthew0109 | Student | Honors

Posted November 12, 2011 at 12:55 PM (Answer #14)

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This is a biblical allusion in the New Testament where Jesus meets a man possessed by demons who when Jesus asked what his name was hes said "My name is legion, for we are many."

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coachtodd23 | High School Teacher | Honors

Posted May 6, 2012 at 10:41 PM (Answer #16)

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When Jesus Christ encountered the possessed man that lived in the cemetery.  To add to earlier answers, as Jesus was perparing to cast the demons out of the man, the demons begged Jesus to send them into a local herd of swine.  When he did, the herd of swine were then possessed and immediately ran themselves into the water and all drown.  What is to be taken from this is that the Devil and his menions only seek to destroy whatever is within their grasp.  Be it man or animal.  Salvation saves a person from such a fate...

 

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overworked | Student, Grade 11 | Salutatorian

Posted June 4, 2012 at 1:10 AM (Answer #17)

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The origin of that statement is from the bible in the book of Mark. Jesus is confronted by a possessed man and the demons inside him make that statement. But Jesus casts them out of the man.

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abuers | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted June 13, 2012 at 6:45 AM (Answer #18)

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A legion represents many, as in a military unit. When the statement was made in the bible, it was in reference to many demons possessing a single man. The man was one, the demons were many. So, when you hear the statement, how to interpret? "I am Legion, for we are many." I am one person, but I have many to back me up!

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boogalie | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 15, 2012 at 1:34 PM (Answer #19)

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While most of your answers are correct, with several notable exceptions, do not walk passed the metaphorical impact of the actions. The 'legions' are man, their direction, in the absence of their coming to Christ Jesus is destruction. In this case, of their own choosing. See, 'free will' and Christianity. Semper Fi.

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nhl123 | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted July 27, 2012 at 1:50 AM (Answer #20)

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there is a website to find the answer on

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jjrichardson | Student, College Freshman | Valedictorian

Posted August 19, 2012 at 1:18 AM (Answer #22)

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This is a Biblical allusion to an incident where Jesus healed a maniac who ranted and raved as an animal, cut himself with stones and lived among tombs. When Jesus asked "Who are you?", he was not speaking to the man but to the demons which possessed him. Through the man they replied," I am Legion (meaning 'many'), for we are many." The evil spirits leaving the man went into a herd of pigs which in turn went wild, plunging themselves into the Sea of Galilee and drowning there. Because of "collateral damage" having been done, Jesus was asked by the local authorities to leave the area. So He did

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kezze | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted November 23, 2012 at 1:11 AM (Answer #23)

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as we know in the bible that statement was said and all it means was that the man was demon posest and many demons were in the man and they spoke for the man and they told Jesus who they were even thought he already knew.we are many because it was a lot of them .that is pratically what legion means. 

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zumba96 | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted April 30, 2014 at 3:01 AM (Answer #29)

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It means a person who belongs to certain anonymous groups. In Biblical times it meant the colony chiefly composed of lepers. In modern times it means the group of people who log on to disrupt or corrupt the work of organizations.

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iloveipads | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted August 4, 2011 at 11:25 AM (Answer #25)

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www.phrases.org.uk/

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oceanlover1 | Student, Grade 9 | Honors

Posted August 21, 2011 at 10:59 PM (Answer #26)

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It is from the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke in the New Testament of the Holy Catholic Bible. (John is not included because he is not a synoptic bible writer). It means that Jesus is a leigon and those who follow him will be one with him

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yujieinter | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted July 22, 2011 at 1:06 AM (Answer #27)

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Any belief cannot be single or solitude.  the religion's inventor are lonely, they hold a belief without spread, and then ,he taught to many people , he addressed, he explained, at last, some people accepted and eventually. large numbers of advocator made his series of theories to become a religion.

Region, is a nother form of fans, at least i hold this belief. If a person has his own primary thinking, he will be a learner, not a member.

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iloveipads | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted August 4, 2011 at 11:25 AM (Answer #28)

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there is a website to find the answer on

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