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The Role of Miracles and the Supernatural inLate Antiquity and the early Middle AgesSupernatural events and miracles are very common inmedieval lierature Many of these miracles were used for commonpurposes which were to provide examples of an ideal Christianway of life and promote conversion to Christianity They dothis by writing about miracles that punished people who actedimproperly miracles that took place to reward Christians fordoing good deeds showing extreme and persistent faith or forthose who were leading moral lives Some examples of medievalliterature that contain miracles which serve this purpose areSaint Augustines Confessions MacMullens Christianity andPaganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries HillGarthsChristianity and Paganism 350-750 Bedes EcclesiasticalHistory of the English People Gregory of Tours History of theFranks and in the works of Saint Boniface Saint Augustines work includes a miracle that took placebecause a man begged his admission to god This man was blindand had heard of people who were vexed by impure spirits andwere healed 165 He immediately asked his guide to beinghim to the place were this was happening which was where thebodies of the martyrs Protasius and Gervasius lay He rubbed asacred cloth over his eyes and immediately regained his losteyesight This miracle was included to show the benefits ofshowing ones allegiance to god and by doing so Augustine wouldbe able to get others to convert to Christianity Augustinedescribes the roles of miracles himself when he wrote that theysymbolize the sacraments of initiation and miraculouswonders necessary to initiate and convert uninstructed andunbelieving people I Cor 1423 299MacMullens book also contains accounts of miracles thatwere used for conversion One such miracle from Augustinescatalog took place when a youth was said to have been enteredby a water demon He was brought to the same shrine I mentionedearlier which contained relics of Protasius and Gervasius Thedemon then leaves the childs body and writhes in pain and theboy is cured Other such miracles that were said to have takenplace in front of large crowds were
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