Miracles in Greco-Roman Antiquity: A Sourcebook

Miracles in Greco-Roman Antiquity: A Sourcebook

Miracles in Greco-Roman Antiquity: A Sourcebook

Miracles in Greco-Roman Antiquity: A Sourcebook

Synopsis

Miracles in Greco-Roman Antiquity presents a collection in translation of miracle stories from the ancient world. The material is divided up into four main categories including healing, exorcism, nature and raising the dead.Wendy Cotter, in an introduction and notes to the selections, contextualizes the miracles within the background of the Greco-Roman world and also compares the stories to other Jewish and non-Jewish miracle stories of the Mediterranean world. This sourcebook provides an interdisciplinary collection of material which will be of value to students of the New Testament.

Excerpt

This book is the result of David Aune’s invitation one afternoon several years ago in the Theology Department library as I had just finished expounding to him my concern over the lack of proper cultural contextualization in miracle story analysis. My own involvement with the interpretation of miracle stories had begun with the research for my doctoral dissertation, “The Markan Sea Miracles: Their history, formation, and function in the literary context of Greco-Roman Antiquity” (Ph.D. dissertation: University of St Michael’s College, Toronto, 1991). It was during those years that I discovered what few tools were readily available for situating miracle story claims and heroes in the reality of the first-century Mediterranean world. That afternoon, David informed me that he had just agreed to be editor of Routledge’s new series, Christianity in Context, in which forms in Christian texts would be provided their proper cultural settings through illuminating extracts from Greco-Roman texts. David’s invitation to me to prepare the sourcebook for miracle story contextualization was an honour as it was a practical answer to my concern, and I would like to express my sincerest thanks to him. I hope that this volume of selected texts will be found helpful by many scholars and students who have searched for a book of pertinent sources to assist them in their interpretation of Greco-Roman miracle stories.

I would like to acknowledge in a special way the generosity of Loyola University of Chicago in awarding me a summer research grant to begin the necessary research for the book, and then adding to this a paid semester sabbatical to bring it to completion.

Profound thanks go to my own religious community, the Sisters of St Joseph of London, Ontario, Canada, for their kind funding of a summer field study in Rome as part of the research for this volume.

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