In first century Judea, the Greek word daimon (translated “demon”) referred to a spiritual being, but without the negative connotation that the word carries today. Back then, a demon was a spirit that wasn’t necessarily good or bad. However, other names for them in the Bible do suggest their evil nature, such as “unclean spirit” and “evil spirit.” Over time Christian tradition adopted the word “demon” to mean fallen angels that rebelled with Satan against God. Jews in the first century understood that demons could possess and control people, causing problems like deafness, blindness, mental disorders, seizures, and the inability to speak. Not all diseases were blamed on demons, since the Gospel writers often differentiated between the same problem as having natural or supernatural causes. However, it’s unclear what the criteria were to attribute an affliction to demon possession or simply a medical cause. Exorcism is the act of evicting demons from the people or places they possess, which was practiced throughout the ancient Middle East by Jews and other religious groups.