Miracles

miracle

miracle, preternatural occurrence that is viewed as the expression of a divine will. Its awe and wonder lie in the fact that the cause is hidden. The idea of the miracle occurs especially with the evolution of those highly developed religions that distinguish between natural law and divine will. Many supernatural or inexplicable events have been called miracles, but in the strict religious sense a miracle refers only to the direct intervention of divine will in the affairs of men. The adherents of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam attribute miracles to the omnipotence of God, the Creator, who alone can change the natural events of the world or can delegate that power to a disciple, such as Moses, Jesus, or Muhammad. In the history of Christianity miracles have played a major role, two of the most important examples of divine intervention being the Resurrection (Mat. 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20; 21) and the Virgin Birth. Miracles in Christianity are also associated with saints' bodies and relics and with shrines. Some saints had in their lifetime great repute for curing the sick by supposed miracles. The Roman Catholic Church requires rigid attestation of miracles before canonization, but does not officially require belief in other than biblical miracles.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Looking for a Miracle: Weeping Icons, Relics, Stigmata, Visions & Healing Cures
Joe Nickell.
Prometheus Books, 1993
Miracles and the Medieval Mind: Theory, Record, and Event, 1000-1215
Benedicta Ward.
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987
Miracles in Greco-Roman Antiquity: A Sourcebook
Wendy C. S.J. Cotter.
Routledge, 1999
The Historical Christ and the Jesus of Faith: The Incarnational Narrative as History
C. Stephen Evans.
Clarendon Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Miracles: Their Possibility and Their Knowability"
The Miracle of Theism: Arguments for and against the Existence of God
J. L. Mackie.
Clarendon Press, 1982
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Miracles and Testimony"
The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: An Encyclopedia
Gary B. Ferngren; Edward J. Larson; Darrel W. Amundsen; Anne-Marie E. Nakhla.
Garland, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 11 "Miracles"
Gospel Fictions
Randel Helms.
Prometheus Books, 1988
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IV "Miracles (I): The Synoptic Narratives" and Chap. V "Miracles (II): The Fourth Gospel"
The Firstborn of Many: A Christology for Converting Christians
Donald L. Gelpi.
Marquette University Press, vol.2, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 11 "Miracles, Fulfillment, and Allusion in Matthew"
The Non-Existence of God
Nicholas Everitt.
Routledge, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Arguments to and from Miracles"
Hume's Abject Failure: The Argument against Miracles
John Earman.
Oxford University Press, 2000
Stages of Thought: The Co-Evolution of Religious Thought and Science
Michael Horace Barnes.
Oxford University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "Miracles in an Orderly World" begins on p. 132
Images, Miracles, and Authority in Asian Religious Traditions
Richard H. Davis.
Westview Press, 1998
Healing in the History of Christianity
Amanda Porterfield.
Oxford University Press, 2005
Librarian’s tip: "The Problem of Miracles" begins on p. 22
The God Pumpers: Religion in the Electronic Age
Marshall Fishwick; Ray B. Browne.
Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1987
Librarian’s tip: "Lost Dogs and Financial Healing: Deconstructing Televangelist Miracles" begins on p. 19
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