This chapter begins by explaining the significance of miracle stories to contemporary readers. It then sets out the book's purpose, namely to examine miracles and the meanings assigned to them in five religious traditions: Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. The discussion focuses on a few examples in each tradition that illuminate the significance religious believers assign to miracles. To fully understand the range of meanings miracles in these different traditions, the book also explores the wider systems of ideas about reality that provide the intellectual rationale for belief in supernatural or transcendent power intervening in the world of ordinary experience. The remainder of the chapter provides a definition of miracle and discusses its components.
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