Mirakler och historievetenskaplig metod

En replik till Mats Wahlberg


  • Tobias Hägerland
  • Cecilia Wassén


In response to Mats Wahlberg's critique, we clarify the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of our previous treatment of miracles narrated in the Gospels. Whereas Wahlberg laments our consistent exclusion of alleged supernatural and miraculous factors from historiographical work, and suggests that "pragmatic agnosticism" would be preferable over against the methodological atheism that we espouse, we seek to defend our point of departure as the only viable principle for historical scholarship. We do so by pointing out a series of distinctions not sufficiently noted by Wahlberg, by discussing the definition of "miracle," and by arguing that any attempt to approach the question of Jesus' resurrection with pragmatic agnosticism can only lead to the dissolution of commonly recognised fundamentals of historical enquiry. Finally, we observe that questions about the existence of God and the possibility of miracles are not normally dealt with in the scholarly work of historians, and conclude that there is no reason why these questions should be introduced in the historical-critical study of Jesus and Christian origins either.