Contemplation, Miracle and Novelty: Towards the Foundations of Religious Experience

Keywords: astonishment, contemplation, miracle, novelty, religious experience, practice, theory


In this article, on the basis of analysis of the classical definition of a miracle (from D. Hume to C. S. Lewis and R. Swinburne) and the nonclassical one (J.L.Marion and J. P. Manussakis), the phenomenological and the etymological aspects of a miracle are exаmined. Taking into consideration the historical development of the concept of a miracle, the author proves the connections between contemplation, miracle and novelty. They are necessary for the constituting of religious experience. Faith itself, in theological sense, is not determinative for religious experience. It has sense only when it is integrated into contemplation. True religious experience discloses the chain of routine, repetitive everydayness and lets a human being to see the new in the usual. The religious experience is based on the art of contemplation which helps a human being to look with astonishment. The author argues that phenomenological approach to a miracle combined with the etymological analysis is a valuable method for the study of a miracle in the context of the history of philosophy.

Author Biography

Ihor Karivets, Lviv National Polytechnic University
PhD in Philosophy, Associate Professor at the Chair of Philosophy


Brentano, F. (1995). Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint. London, & New York: Routlege.

Bunge, M. (1959). Causality. The Place of the Causal Principle in Modern Science. Cambridge: Harvard UP.

Caputo, D. J. (2001). On the Religion. London, & New York: Routlege.

Corner, D. (2007). The Philosophy of Miracles. London, & New York: Continuum.

Drange, T. M. (1998). Science and Miracles. Retrieved April 20, 2013, from

Hume, D. (1975). Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding and Concerning the Principles of Morals. (L. A. Selby-Bigge, & P. H. Nidditch, Eds.). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Husserl, E. (1982). Ideas pertaining to a pure phenomenology and to a phenomenological philosophy: 1st. book, General introduction to a pure phenomenology (F. Kersten, Trans.). The Hague, & London: Nijhoff.

Khmel, T. V. (2010). A Miracle as a Form of Perception of the World. [In Russian]. In Contemporary Understanding of the World: the Spiritual Aspects of the Scientific Development in the XXI century. The Proceedings of Scientific and Practical Conference (pp. 41-43). Dnipropetrovsk: National Mining University.

Krishnamurti, J. (1969). The Freedom from the Known. New York: Harper & Row.

Lewis, C. S. (1947). Miracles: a preliminary study. New York: Macmillan.

Manoussakis, J. P. (2007). God after Metaphysics. A Theological Aesthetic. Bloomington: Indiana UP.

Marion, J.-L. (2008). The Visible and the Revealed. New York: Fordham UP.

Merton, T. (1980). Contemplation in a World of Action. London: Unwin Paperbacks.

Mikolejko, Z. (2013). What is a Miracle? Is there a Miracle? [In Ukrainian]. Retrieved April 20, 2013, from

Mooney, E. F. (1998). Repetition: Getting the world back. In A. Hannay, & G. D. Marino (Eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard (pp. 282-307). Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Moore, T. (1996). The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

Nickell, J. (1996). Examining Miracle Claims. Retrieved April 20, 2013, from

Osho. (2013). The Mustard Seed: My Most Loved Gospel on Jesus. Retrieved July 30, 2013, from

Parsons, H. L. (1969). A Philosophy of Wonder. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 30(1), 84-101.

Ricoeur, P. (1965). History and Truth. Evanston: Northwestern UP.

Rodzevych et al., N.S. (1985). Etymological Dictionary of the Ukrainian Language in 7 vol. (Vol. 2). [In Ukrainian]. Kyiv: Naukova dumka.

Soshynskyj, S. A. (2001). A Miracle in the System of the Universe. [In Russian]. Voprosy Filosofii, (9), 82-97.

Swinburne, R. (1970). The Concept of Miracle. London: Macmillan; New York: St Martin's Press.

Yust, W. (Ed.). (1959). Encyclopædia Britannica: A New Survey of Universal Knowledge (Vol. 15). Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica.
How to Cite
Karivets, I. (2013). Contemplation, Miracle and Novelty: Towards the Foundations of Religious Experience. Sententiae, 29(2), 127-137.