ABC-CLIO/Greenwood - Reference


An Encyclopedia of People, Places, and Supernatural Events from Antiquity to the Present

by Patrick J. Hayes, Editor


The miraculous appearance of the Virgin Mary to Juan Diego in 1531 inspired eight million Mexicans to convert to Catholicism in the following decade.

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Cover image for Miracles

January 2016


Pages 478
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Religion/General
  Geography and World Cultures/Culture
  • Award Winner!




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Miracles give hope to the hopeless and exemplify the intersection of the divine and the mundane. They have shaped world history and continue to influence us through their presence in films, television, novels, and popular culture. This encyclopedia provides a unique resource on the philosophical, historical, religious, and cross-cultural conceptions of miracles that cut across denominational lines.

Multidisciplinary in approach, this informative yet entertaining encyclopedia covers major aspects of miraculous phenomena through more than 150 alphabetically arranged entries that document how humanity's belief in religious miracles over multiple places, periods, and faiths have affected society—even changed the course of history. Written for high school students and general readers, the coverage enables readers to learn about different civilizations and cultures, the controversies surrounding different beliefs, and the often uncomfortable engagement of religion with science.

This single-volume book provides a one-stop ready-reference that addresses a broad variety of subject matter on miraculous phenomena and guides further investigations into the subject. Helpful illustrations and lucid explanations of the ancillary concepts associated with miraculous phenomena make learning about this topic more engaging. Readers will be able to link the doctrinal concepts, such as "grace" or "prayer," with the descriptions of miraculous events, especially those associated with saints or holy objects. The examination of the controversial aspects of different belief systems along with the book's balanced coverage of the interpretation of miracles will encourage students to weigh different explanations, thus fostering the development of their critical thinking skills.


  • Provides the most authoritative exposition of miracles across history currently available in English—a highly useful resource for inquirers on miraculous phenomenon
  • Goes far beyond discussions of specific miracle stories to explore their provenance, cultic aspects, philosophical underpinnings, and psychological roots
  • Covers some of the major aspects of miraculous phenomena through entries drawn from the humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and the hard sciences, particularly physics and natural biology
  • Presents accounts of miracles with a range of expert interpretations of those events, thereby supporting the Common Core State Standards for History and English Language Arts, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.3
  • Supplies more than a dozen primary documents—each introduced by a headnote—that give students historic accounts of miracles and related texts for in-depth analysis
Author Info

Patrick J. Hayes, PhD, is the archivist for the Redemptorists of the Baltimore Province and editor of the online journal, Redemptorist North American History Bulletin. He is the author of A Catholic Brain Trust: The Catholic Commission on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs, 1945–1965; editor of ABC-CLIO's two-volume The Making of Modern Immigration: An Encyclopedia of People and Ideas; and coeditor of A Realist's Church: Essays in Honor of Joseph Komonchak. Hayes has taught in Catholic colleges and universities around the United States and West Africa and has authored a number of articles in theology and church history.



"[A] key resource for understanding particular individuals, locales, and interpretations associated with miraculous occurrences. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All academic levels; general readers; professionals/practitioners."Choice

"An illuminating survey course in world miracles."Library Journal

"[I]t has been over a century since a reference work devoted to miracles has been published. Recommended for academic and large public libraries."Booklist

"Miracles seems to be unique, in that it is an encyclopedia dedicated just to miracles. I would recommend Miracles: An Encyclopedia of People, Places, and Supernatural Events from Antiquity to the Present for the reference section of academic, school, and public libraries."Reference Reviews


Outstanding Academic Title, 2016 — Choice

2017 Outstanding Reference Source — RUSA

Best Reference Titles of 2016, Religion and Philosophy — Library Journal

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