The Mind's Eye show

category: News & Politics

Supernatural Miracles in Early America / Prof. Adam Jortner

3/2/2017

In the decades following the Revolution, the supernatural exploded across the American landscape—fabulous reports of healings, exorcisms, magic, and angels crossed the nation. Prof. Adam Jortner explores these "miracles" in his book Blood from the Sky: Miracles and Politics in the Early American Republic. At the same time, Enlightenment philosophers and American founders explicitly denied the possibility of supernatural events, dismissing them as deliberate falsehoods—and, therefore, efforts to suborn the state. Many feared that belief in the supernatural itself was a danger to democracy. In this way, miracles became a political problem. Jortner breaks new ground in explaining the rise of radical religion in a history of astounding events that—as early Americans would have said—needed to be seen to be believed.

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