The Fantastic in Religious Narrative from Exodus to Elisha


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In the Koran, Muhammad says "the signs [ aya, meaning miracles] are with God alone;" the greatest sign is the Koran itself, every Arabic verse sura of which Muslims regard as the actual words of Allah. But the miracles attributed to Muhammad mu'jizat are all found elsewhere, chiefly in the hadith roughly, "the traditions" of the Prophet, considered second only to the Koran in importance.

However, in the various authoritative collections of the hadith, Muhammad's miracles tend to be merely listed apart from any interpretive narrative context.


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This arrangement suggests that miracles were incidental to the life and importance of the Prophet and may have been included in the hadith for the apologetic purpose of demonstrating that Muhammad, like Jesus, Moses, and other prophets of Allah before him, possessed the power to work miracles. Thus, among the three monotheistic traditions, Islam makes a formal and linguistic distinction between the miracles produced as signs by God and the miracles attributed to the prophets, whereas in Judaism and Christianity the distinction is informal: in the Bible, the power to work miracles belongs to God as the creator and sustainer of the world, but beginning with Moses that power passes to the prophets.

In the New Testament, Jesus not only heals and raises the dead, like earlier Jewish prophets, but also exercises power over nature as in calming storms and walking on water , a sign of his divinity since the power to control nature belongs to God alone.

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In the various religious and philosophical traditions collectively known as Hinduism, miracles are usually understood as manifestations of innate divine power. Here we must distinguish between the miracles of God or gods, principally Shiva, Vishnu, and the latter's many avatars especially Krishna and Rama and the miracles of the saints or renunciates in a long line of ascetics reaching back to the fabled sages rishi of the Vedic period — B.

Stories of the gods and their avatars belong to the great and complex tapestry of Hindu mythology and need not concern us here. Far more relevant to the Hindu understanding of miracles are the stories told of the saints. Just as the Hindu deities can descend in human forms avatars , so the Hindu saints can, through the practice of asceticism tapas , rise to godlike status.

Thus the saint is often understood to be a "god-man" or a "goddess woman" by virtue of having "realized" the divinity innate in all human beings.

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In this context, a miracle is a manifestation of supernormal powers siddhi acquired as a function of attaining ever purer forms of consciousness samadhi through meditation and physical austerities. A classic treatment of the siddhi is the Yoga Sutra of Pantanjali, where the list of supernormal powers includes knowledge of previous lives; clairvoyance; knowledge of the moment when one will die; control over and thus freedom from one's bodily systems; the ability to levitate and transverse great distances in a moment's time; the power to expand or shrink one's body; and so forth.

Although the Buddha rejected the traditional practices of Indian ascetics, Buddhism incorporates the same understanding of miracles as supernormal powers that Pantanjali outlined. The main difference is that there is no "self" to be realized in Buddhist teachings—it is the last and greatest of illusions—which is why the Buddha taught his disciples not to display their acquired powers before the laity: to do so would manifest pride and so trap them in yet another form of attachment to self.

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Yet after his own enlightenment the Buddha did perform many miracles, some of them more fantastic than any attributed to Hindu god-men. But he did so for evangelistic purposes, secure in the knowledge that he had liberated himself from all attachments. However, receive manna and water marvels in the desert; etc.

The Christian history of contro- tions, as well as of the desert wandering stories versies about the status and veracity of stories of the e. Also, the larger national epic fea- fantastic document the extent of negotiation and tures fantastic elements e. The gious stories of the fantastic in different levels of fantastic-marvellous events of the national epic are society cf. On the other ambiguity. Broadly conceived, the fantastic elements in Houtman.

Fantasy from to the Present Notre Dame The Christian tradi- cred in Post Modern Media ed. Nicklas eds. In the 20th century, Fantastic in Mark 6,45—56 Leiden Towards the end of the 20th century, how- Imagining Truth ed.

Laura Feldt

Cavadini, Notre Dame, Ind. Characteristically, however, the recep- tion, in modern fantasy literature, of the biblical fantastic is often oblique Manlove if present at all, as the varied reception histories and fan cultures in relation to fantasy and the fantastic also signal.

Some fantasy and fantastic literature has elicited re- ligious controversy; for instance, the evangelical Christian disputes over the nature of magic in the Harry Potter series which is rejected by some Chris- tians and sanctioned by others; Sky , show both that potential references to the biblical fantastic in works of fantasy in the 20th and 21st century are often unclear, and also that magic remains as po- lemical a concept as ever. Masius, — or Supernatural created by E.

Kripke, — , and others. Semeia 60; 1—6. Problem URL. Describe the connection issue. SearchWorks Catalog Stanford Libraries. The covenant of the torch : a forgotten encounter in the history of the Exodus and wilderness journey. Responsibility Abraham Park. Physical description p. Series God's administration in the history of redemption ; bk.

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The Fantastic in Religious Narrative from Exodus to Elisha The Fantastic in Religious Narrative from Exodus to Elisha
The Fantastic in Religious Narrative from Exodus to Elisha The Fantastic in Religious Narrative from Exodus to Elisha
The Fantastic in Religious Narrative from Exodus to Elisha The Fantastic in Religious Narrative from Exodus to Elisha
The Fantastic in Religious Narrative from Exodus to Elisha The Fantastic in Religious Narrative from Exodus to Elisha
The Fantastic in Religious Narrative from Exodus to Elisha The Fantastic in Religious Narrative from Exodus to Elisha
The Fantastic in Religious Narrative from Exodus to Elisha The Fantastic in Religious Narrative from Exodus to Elisha

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