Although Søren Kierkegaard insisted that faith did not depend on history and miracle came to be seen as irrelevant in describing early Christianity, at least the postmodern turn and the increasing sociological significance of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements with their testimony of miracle have increasingly brought the topic of miracle back to the fore in historiography. In an attempt to make a case that historians may be justified in judging whether or not a reported event can be described as a miracle, this presentation takes into account a number of points at which the work of the historian and the problem of miracle intersect: the postmodern challenge to realist history, the hegemony of confessional secular history, the emic history that avoids the problem of miracle, the problem of potential divine intervention for scientific enquiry, the historian and the unique event, and the question of the historian’s ability to identify supernatural agency, for example.
GRAHAM TWELFTREE (BA, Adelaide; MA, Oxford; PhD, Nottingham) is the Charles L. Holman Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity and Director of the PhD Program in the School of Divinity at Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA. He is a member of Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas and the editorial board of The Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus. His most recent book is Paul and the Miraculous: A Historical Reconstruction (Baker, 2013).