5. The reporting of miracles in Bible is NOT surprising, convincing or unique. Why? Throughout history reported attested miracles are a dime a dozen. The Middle Ages are awash with them. Monasteries competed with each other for power, prestige, money & followers – they did this by racking up miracles for their particular adopted saints. St Bernadino of Siena had 2447 alone.
6. Do crowds/large numbers count with reported miracles? I would contend not. Again the Middle Ages had instances of this in abundance – ie: many dead people were seen by many people walking around.
The Bible (with its miracles including the Resurrection) is ENTIRELY TYPICAL of its age – (credulaous people easily believing in the supernatural).
5. Your statement that the miracles of Jesus are just like lot of other miracles committed claimed and believed in throughout history sounds reasonable at first glance, but let us look more closely. It is interesting that you cannot list your examples. There is a reason you cannot list your examples. Because these examples of miracle claims from the Middle Ages are things that no one today would believe. Yet the miracles of Jesus are something that very intelligent, rational, well-educated people today believe in. You are implying that these people are easily duped and really quite unsophisiticated and foolish. This is quite a thing to imply. I have a PhD in chemical physics and am well aware of history. In fact, I have written a three-part set of books on the history of Christianity. (The Christian Story Part I and II available at www.ipibooks.com if you are interested) I am well aware of the kind of supposed miracles claimed by believers in the Middle Ages, and I have VERY GOOD reason to believe in the New Testament miracles and to not believe in the others. Do you think that I am a fool? I have some reasons for this. Here are a few reasons that I believe that Jesus did in fact work miracles. NONE of these things below are true of the superstitious beliefs in miracles you are talking about.
Reasons to believe that Jesus did in fact work wonders, signs and miracles.
1. A great number of the miracles were done publicly, often in front of the greatest skeptics and harshest critics of Jesus.
Acts 2:22 “As you yourselves know.”
2. There were tens of thousands of eyewitnesses from every background to these events.
3. The apostles openly proclaimed that Jesus worked a great variety of miracles during the lifetime of those who could have refuted the claims. This is a matter of historical record. (This fact is a notable exception to the claims the believers in other great religious leaders have made.)
4. Both Roman and Jewish histories report at least the general fact that Jesus worked “wonders.” (Josephus, Talmud)
Babylonian Talmud (late first or second century AD) Babylonian Sanhedrin43a-b
On the eve of the Passover they hanged Yeshu and the herald went before him for forty days saying [Yeshu] is going forth to be stoned in that he hate practiced sorcery and beguiled and led astray Israel
About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing amongst us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared to them restored to life, for the prophets of God had prophesied these and countless other marvelous things about him. And the tribe of Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.
Thallus We know of Thallus only from a third century Christian historian named Julius Africanus who wrote a three-volume treatise of world history in the 50s AD. In discussion the darkness at the time of the resurrection of Jesus, Julius Africanus mentions that in the 3rd book of Thallus’ history, he mentions the darkness and calls it an eclipse of the sun. Africanus believes that Thallus is wrong. Whether or not this source proves the darkness at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion is dubious, but it does seem to support the idea that even non-Christians were aware of the resurrection as early as the 50s AD—at about the time the first book of the NT was written. It also supports the claim, not necessarily of the darkness having occurred, but of the darkness having been claimed and believed by the Christians. Because we do not have Thallus’ history and because we have a Christian interpreting rather than quoting it, this is rather dubious support to Christian claims.
5. Because the wonders and signs of Jesus were common knowledge, the Pharisees and Rabbis in the time period in question tended to claim Jesus did his signs by the power of demons, rather than refute that the miracles occurred.
6. Those who recorded the miracles most carefully and thoroughly (the gospel writers) have every appearance of being absolutely reliable and from eyewitnesses. If Jesus is a myth or even just a man, then these guys are blatant in-your-face liars.
Like I said, if you can give me an example of one of these miracles in the MIddle Ages which is qualitatively the same as the miracles of Jesus, please give me your example of such a claim which is more or less the same as the New Testament miracles, and please compare that “miracle” to this list.
6. Crowds, in an of themselves do not matter. It depends on who is in the crowd and what that crowd observed. What would be your parallel event, for example, to the five thousand who saw Jesus make read and fish from nothing. What would be your parallel event in history which corresponds to the more than five hundred witnesses to the resurrection or the hundreds who saw Lazarus raised from the dead? What dead people were seen and who saw them? To be honest, I have no idea what similar or parallel event in the Middle Ages is even somewhat similar to the resurrection of Jesus or to his making bread and fish to feed thousands. The five hundred plus who saw Jesus alive after he was executed by the Romans were all willing to be thrown in prison or to be killed rather than deny their claim of the resurrection I say that there is literally not a single miracle in the Middle Ages or any other time in history which would compare to that. There is no one in all history about whom miracles were reported by contemporaries which are even remotely similar to the miracles of Jesus. If you can share a name and describe the kinds of witnesses I would be happy to hear it, but saying that the miracles of Jesus are just a dime a dozen is mere rhetoric unless you have even a single example to support that statement. I believe that the kinds of miracles, the public nature of those witnesses and the quality of the witnesses with Jesus have no parallel in history.