Chapter

Apparitions

Robert A. Scott

in Miracle Cures

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780520262751
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520946200 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520262751.003.0003
Apparitions

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The impression that heaven is present in some form on earth may be created and sustained in any number of ways: with impressive tombs and ornately decorated reliquaries where music, art, and incense foster an aura of the saints' presence; through the publicizing of miracles that reportedly take place in connection with venerating saints; and as apparitions, in which figures such as Christ, the Virgin Mary, or an important saint appear in visions. By definition, the divine status of great saints is seen by worshippers as beyond dispute. True believers accept uncritically the dramatic events ascribed to saints. Consequently, stories about the cult of saints and the miracles they performed tend to conceal the role of humans in creating and sustaining the impression of a heavenly presence. Reports about apparitions, by contrast, are often met with skepticism, and ridicule, if not outright disbelief.

Keywords: heaven; saints; miracles; apparitions; Christ; Virgin Mary; divine status; humans

Chapter.  5932 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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