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Miracles

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 25 September 2008

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the parting of the Red Sea, the feeding of the five thousand and the general subject of miracles. Miracles have been part of human culture for thousands of years. From St Augustine in the 4th century through the medieval cult of saints to David Hume in the 18th, miracles have captured the imaginations of believers and sceptics alike. The way they have been celebrated, interpreted, dissected and refuted is a whole history of arguments between philosophy, science and religion.

They have also been used by the corrupt and the powerful to gain their perverse ends. Miracles have been derided and proved to be fraudulent and yet, for many, the miraculous maintain a grip on our imagination, our language and our belief to this day.

With Martin Palmer, Director of the International Consultancy on Religion, Education and Culture;Janet Soskice, Reader in Philosophical Theology at Cambridge University; Justin Champion, Professor of the History of Early Modern Ideas at Royal Holloway, University of London.

  • Further Reading

    Thomas, Keith, 1933, Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England (London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1997)

    Burns, R. M., The Great Debate on Miracles: From Joseph Glanvill to David Hume (Lewisburg : Bucknell University Press ; London : Associated University Presses, c1981). Descript. 305p.

    Shaw, Jane, 1963, Miracles in Enlightenment England (New Haven [Conn.] ; London : Yale University Press, 2006)

    Fox, George, 1624-1691, George Fox's 'Book of Miracles', edited with an introduction and notes by Henry J. Cadbury ; with a foreword by Rufus M. Jones (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1948)

    Brown, Peter, The Cult of the Saints (Chicago Uni Press, 1981)

    Caesarius of Hesterbach, The Dialogue on Miracles, translated by H.von E. Scott (Routledge, 1929)

    Cavadini, John C., Miracles in Jewish and Christian Antiquity: Imagined Truth (Notre Dame Ind. University of Notre Dame Press, 1999)

    Cohn, Norman, The Pursuit of the Millennium (first published in 1972 - many reprints)

  • .

    Finucane, Ronald C., Miracles and Pilgrims: Popular Beliefs in Medieval England (Macmillan, 1995)

    Ginzberg, Louis, Legends of the Bible (first published 1907 - many reprints)

    Jackson, Deirdre, Marvellous to Behold - Miracles in Medieval Manuscripts (The British Library, 2007)

    Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, translated by William Granger Ryan (Princeton Uni Press, 1993)

    Warner, Marina, Signs and Wonders (Chatto and Windus, 2003)

    Woodward, Kenneth L., The Book of Miracles: The Meaning of the Miracle Stories in Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism (Simon and Schuster, 2000)

    McCabe, Herbert, God Matters (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1987)

    Swinburne, Richard, ed., Miracles (London: Macmillan, 1989)

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