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Record Type: Review   ID: 499

Miracles and the Medieval Mind: Theory, Record and Event, 1000-1215

Ward, Benedicta

The author observes that the largest number of medieval miracle stories are those associated with the shrines of the saints, and it is with these that she is chiefly concerned in this book. As a preliminary, she tried to discover how men theorized about miracles in those days. Accounts of medieval miracles also concerned the lives of the saints. The largest and most influential collection of miracles involve the Virgin Mary, which the author also examines. She also deals with the use of miracle stories as propaganda. She summarizes her findings as follows:

Throughout the Middle Ages miracles were unanimously seen as part of the City of God on earth, and whatever reflections men might have on their cause and their aim, they formed an integral part of ordinary life. The exploration of miracle stories leaves two principle impressions: the number and diversity of events regarded as in some way miraculous, not out of naivety but from a more complex and subtle view of reality than we possess; and the unity of opinion about miracles in both thought and record, a unity expressed by Augustine: "God himself has created all that is wonder in this world, the great miracles as well as the minor marvels I have mentioned, and he has included them all in that unique wonder, that miracle of miracles, the world itself."

Publisher Information:Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982. 321p. Bibl: 288-310; 322-323; Chap. notes: 221-287; 8 illus; Ind: 311-321
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