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Miracles

performed testament god’s saints

The term miracle derives from the Latin miraculum (“wonder”) and may be defined as an extraordinary event, seemingly outside the limits of apparent causality. In Jewish and Christian usage, miracles are wrought by *God’s power and are signs of God’s presence and frequent intervention in human affairs. In the Hebrew Old Testament, the terms gedolot (“great things”), otot-u-mophetim (“signs and wonders”), and niphlaot (“marvels”) are used to describe the many manifestations of God’s power to direct, change, and influence the world of nature and human activity, both on a large and small scale. A sampling of such Old Testament episodes, frequently pictured in art (and referenced in this dictionary), includes the *Crossing of the Red Sea and various other events from the life of *Moses, the youths rescued from the *Fiery Furnace and *Daniel from the Lions’ Den, the *Gathering of the Manna, the *Ascension of *Elijah, the *Deluge and sparing of the ark of *Noah, the destruction of *Sodom and Gomorrah, the *Plagues of Egypt, and numerous others.

In the New Testament, the various miracles performed by Jesus are understood to attest to his divine nature and to the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messianic age. These miracles include acts of healing *exorcism of *demons , bringing the dead back to life, turning water into wine , providing wondrous quantities of food , walking on water and stilling storms . The *Resurrection of Christ is understood by Christians to be the central miracle of Christianity.

The theory and interpretation of miracles was a topic of frequent discussion among both Jewish and Christian writers through the Middle Ages. Accounts of miracles performed by *saints, martyrs, and *relics provided sources for the Page 176 continued production of hagiographic literature, pictorial representations, and the practice of *pilgrimage from the early Christian through late medieval period. Miracles performed by saints during their lifetimes and posthumously are frequently represented in art, as well as the hundreds of miracles attributed to the Virgin *Mary during the Middle Ages.

The miracles wrought directly by God, or through saints or *angels, are distinct from the supernatural or magical events performed by the *Devil or demonic forces

Miraculous Draught of Fishes [next] [back] Minstrel Man

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