Journal of the History of Ideas 60 (2):241 - 256 (1999)

Peter Harrison
University of Queensland
Hume’s "Of Miracles" concludes with the claim that prophecies, too, are miracles, and as such are susceptible to the same arguments which apply to miracles. However, both Hume and his commentators have overlooked the distinctive features of prophecy. Hume’s chief objection to miracles--that one is never justified in crediting second-hand testimony to miraculous events--does not necessarily apply to the argument from fulfilled prophecies as it was understood in the eighteenth century. Neither was prophecy necessarily thought to entail any breach of the laws of nature. Consideration of Hume’s argument in its historical context shows that it fails to counter the argument from prophecies and was known to have failed
Keywords C1  780199 Other  440105 History of Philosophy and History of Ideas
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DOI 10.1353/jhi.1999.0016
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