The Book of Miracles: The Meaning of the Miracle Stories in Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam

Kenneth L. Woodward, Author Simon & Schuster $28 (432p) ISBN 978-0-684-82393-5
Longtime Newsweek religion writer Woodward (Making Saints) has written a study of miracles that doubles as a primer in world religions. He contends that miracles are found in all the major religions, and that one cannot understand or ""fully appreciate"" any of the religions without some acquaintance with their miracle traditions. Woodward spends a little too much time reminding his readers that his question is not whether the miracles actually happened, but what they mean--savvy readers will realize by the second paragraph that Woodward has no interest in proving whether or not Jesus walked on water. The book's freshest and most arresting section appears near the end; after discussing the miraculous acts of the Baal Shem Tov and Muhammad, the author turns his attention to modern-day miracles, arguing that ""what makes modern miracles modern is that they tend to be experienced as private rather than public events."" In contrast to that innovative claim, the treatments of Jesus and Co. seem a bit prosaic. In fact, while Woodward's forays into kabbalistic wonders, the loaves and fishes and the miraculous exploits of Krishna are entertaining, the book's real strength is not Woodward's investigation of miracles and miracle workers, but his careful and sympathetic introduction to Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/01/2000
Release date: 05/01/2000
Genre: Religion
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-7432-0029-5
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