θαυματολογία

Miracles were indeed credited with inspiring conversions, but scholars have been plagued with uncertainty, even some embarrassment, as to how to handle this. To an outsider, a miracle is just an illusion. To an insider, it is evidence of divine will. How are we, ostensibly outsiders, supposed to conquer this barrier? We might, like MacMullen, dismiss miracles as mere superstition, but this approach does not help us to account for how a person was supposed to have chosen between rival Christian and pagan displays of wonder. What, from a modern Western scientific perspective, might look like a demonstration of credulity bordering on stupidity on the part of believers4 in fact called for an exercise of reflection as potential believers sifted through the explanations for the evidence, which would have included not only efficacy as we would measure it today, with studies of pharmacodynamics and the collection of adverse events, but also socio-economic dependencies surrounding the miracle-worker, truth-claims regarding the so-called orthodoxy of the miracle-worker, and displays of charisma. […]. To dismiss the considerations that would have gone into this choice—stories that they might have heard, simple curiosity, notions regarding the underlying forces responsible for the operation of the world, a desire for a patron, convenience, et cetera—is to apply anachronistic assumptions based on the supposed irrationality of ancient behavior. But the cynicism implied by modern skepticism on this point is partly the fault of early Christian apologists, who downplayed the degree of pagan competition in order to argue that Christianity alone was capable of furnishing wonders. This implied that Christians were the only ones receiving miracles and therefore that Christians were the only ones gullible enough to believe in these miracles. Once we realize the full scope of the competition, it becomes obvious that if miracles were encouraging the spread of Christianity, it was not because Christians were the only ones offering them. Instead, it was because Christians were successfully gaining control over narratives and interpretations.

H. Juliussen-Stevenson, Egyptian pagans through Christian eyes, College Park Md 2016, σσ. 344-345.
This entry was posted in θρησκεία and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Σχολιάστε

Εισάγετε τα παρακάτω στοιχεία ή επιλέξτε ένα εικονίδιο για να συνδεθείτε:

Λογότυπο WordPress.com

Σχολιάζετε χρησιμοποιώντας τον λογαριασμό WordPress.com. Αποσύνδεση /  Αλλαγή )

Φωτογραφία Google

Σχολιάζετε χρησιμοποιώντας τον λογαριασμό Google. Αποσύνδεση /  Αλλαγή )

Φωτογραφία Twitter

Σχολιάζετε χρησιμοποιώντας τον λογαριασμό Twitter. Αποσύνδεση /  Αλλαγή )

Φωτογραφία Facebook

Σχολιάζετε χρησιμοποιώντας τον λογαριασμό Facebook. Αποσύνδεση /  Αλλαγή )

Σύνδεση με %s