Did the churches at Rome and Constantinople compete with each other over "miracles"?

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    Did the churches at Rome and Constantinople compete with each other over "miracles"?

    I have been advised tio take great caution over "evidences" from the Middle Ages as reports of Jesus and the apostles were often forged to gain credibility for the churches making them.

    If you know a source detailing the claims please advise.

    #2
    I don't know about fake miracles that were conducted particularly for the sake of a church's credibility, but what I do know is that back then there were people who made a living out of selling counterfeit relics or alleged miraculous new relics, or everyday items that they claimed belonged to saints and so on. There's still this kind of fraud going on, but because there's a better communication both between people and between churches, the activelly communting believers are more informed than what people used to be in the middle ages, so it's harder for con-people to sell their counterfeit items.

    The Middle Ages were a very troubled era. Think how christianity flooded the Roman Empire, monotheism being both a very "alien" belief in the eyes of the pagans and also something of an exciting philosophy. Around the 4th century AD, it was very popular already, and whenever there's something popular going on, there's also people who want to make a buck out of it. So yes there's always that person that will fake the miracles of God's grace in whatever way, just to swindle oblivious unconverted people or generally anyone desperate enough. And then there were people who would tamper with the scriptures to promote their personal agenda.
    It was so early for Christianity that there didn't exist much coherence or even a basic checking of whether God's word was correctly passed on.

    Saint Gregory of Tours, in the 6th century AD had already compiled a list of more than 200 miracles and thousands of healings of various kinds, and as much as I believe in the grace and mercy of God, the number is way too high for all those events to be the product of people's faith manifesting. S. Gregory had himself met such a fraud, the fake Christ of Bourges, which drove him to compile all miracles for the sake of adding credulity to miraculous events.

    ...But we don't know how may of those miracles were fraudulent or which ones were real. Fraudulent ones could have been 1% of the reported miracles or 40% or more. Or maybe the real miracles were never recorded on paper, and likewise maybe the fraudulent ones were never recorded on paper but existed via word of mouth or as rumors, remember we're talking about the Middle Ages, a time when most people were illiterate and short on paper. This uncertainty makes it hard to historically analyse the Middle Ages not just on the development of Christianity but on mundane politics also.

    Does this make a difference in terms of belief? In my opinion, no, it doesn't make much difference. It's only an issue of historical accuracy, because (again in my opinion) the only miracles that have some actual impact on the overall philosophy and ideals of Christianity (from the New Testament and beyond) are those performed by Jesus Christ. But that's just me.



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      #3
      Originally posted by Watcher7 View Post
      I have been advised tio take great caution over "evidences" from the Middle Ages as reports of Jesus and the apostles were often forged to gain credibility for the churches making them.

      If you know a source detailing the claims please advise.
      I don't know any examples of fake miracles, but the medieval church certainly had its share of corruption. The abuse of Indulgences by churchmen to get money and wealth was a recognised problem that Martin Luther railed against during the Reformation. Also it is fiction, but Chaucer's Canterbury Tales features a Pardoner who is only in it for the money and who freely confesses his bag of relics are fake. With the kind of power the church had at the time, he would have faced censure for writing it unless this was a common view.

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