Miracle as Evidence in the Later Middle Ages

Thursday Lecture Series, Evidence

March 24, 2011 Thursday, 12:15pm EDT The Heyman Center, Columbia University

Historians have recently been interested in medieval understandings of miracles and the efforts of a number of late medieval thinkers to explain or partly naturalize them, making the question of the evidence for miracles the subject of lively discussion. But less attention has been paid to the way in which miracles were themselves used as evidence, not just for sanctity but also for ritual impurity, acts of desecration, superstition, and heresy. Caroline Bynum looked at some of the ways in which miracles were used as evidence, exploring how they were described and framed in both sympathetic and hostile accounts in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.