London: Printed for J. Roberts in Warwick Lane, 1737. First edition. 8vo, recent half calf and marbled sides, leather label on the upper board lettered in gilt (Farmer on Demoniacks), viii, 116 pages. A little light soiling and foxing to a few leaves; otherwise, a fine copy. Item #19585
“The Reader will find every Passage both in the Old Testament and the New, (except those of the *Gospels,* which are at present the Subject of Debate, and therefore must be determined by the meaning of the word *Demon,* in other places) He will find, I say, every passage considered in the following Papers; and the true Import of that Word, is shewn not to be *Evil Spirits,* or *Devils,* but *Ghosts* or *Souls of departed Men.*” The clergyman and controversialist Sykes (ca. 1684-1756) had earlier in 1737 published his Enquiry into the meaning of demoniacks in the New Testament. By T.P.A.P.O.A.B.I.T.C.O.S. and launched the far-ranging contemporary gospel demoniac controversy, of which this is an early entry answering the critic Leonard Twells. Sykes seems also to have suggested that the Gadarene incident might be best explained by illness or physical infirmity, opening the way toward a model of mental illness as an explanation of so-called possession. Early references all seem to assign responsibility to Sykes for this Further Enquiry (see the 1882 BMC and Notes & Queries Ser. 4 VI, July 23, 1870) though ESTC seems to take no stand. See the OUDNB for more on the controversial career of Sykes; see also H. C. Erik Midelfort, “The Gadarene Demoniac in the English Enlightenment,” in Michelson, Taylor, and Venables. A Linking of Heaven and Earth: Studies in Religious and Cultural History in Honor of Carlos M.N. Eire. Routledge 2016. (pp. 53 et seq.) for an extensive summary of the controversy.) Bound with the half-title.