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The hanging of William Cragh: anatomy of a miracle

The hanging of William Cragh: anatomy of a miracle


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The hanging of William Cragh: anatomy of a miracle

By Jussi Hanska

Journal of Medieval History, Vol. 27 (2001)

Abstract: This paper is a case study of a miracle story, the hanging and resuscitation of William Cragh. It studies the metamorphosis from a historical event to a miracle story. The miracle itself, on the first impression, seems to be relatively insignificant. Most of the persons involved are unknown from other sources, and the story was rejected in the final phase of canonisation. It is the very weakness of the story that makes it important. The testimonies of the witnesses are often contradictory and there are obvious deviations from the truth.

Why were the witnesses economical with the truth? Some stood to gain, some simply did not remember correctly, some wanted to emphasise their own role, and some wanted to meet the expectations of the papal commission. There is, however, no evidence that the witnesses would have been manipulated by the proctors of the Hereford chapter which stood to gain from the canonisation. It is also evident that the papal commission was not satisfied with merely having the witnesses’ statements written down. The commissioners did everything possible to produce an objective and informative file of each miracle for the use of the pope and cardinals.


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Comments:

  1. Esequiel

    Agree, a useful piece

  2. Rafe

    Quickly have replied :)

  3. Maimun

    I believe that you are making a mistake. Let's discuss this.

  4. Gunther

    it is strange indeed

  5. Aidan

    Yes, this is our modern world and I'm probably afraid that nothing can be done about it :)

  6. Moogulkis

    Yes indeed. It was with me too. Let's discuss this issue.



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