The Spell, by William Fettes Douglas, 1864. © National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland, The Bridgeman Art Library.

Magic Shows

Volume V, Number 3 | summer 2012

Miscellany

“I don’t believe in miracles, because it’s been a long time since we’ve had any,” Joseph Heller said in an interview in 1988. Some sixteen hundred years earlier, St. Augustine had written, “Men say, ‘Why do not the miracles, which you talk about as having been worked, take place now?’ I might indeed reply that they were necessary before the world believed for the very purpose of making it believe.”

The Mughal’s nature is such that they demand miracles, but if a miracle were to be performed by some upright follower of our religion, they would say that it had been brought about by magic and sorcery. They would strike him down with spears or would stone him to death.

—Fr. Antonio Monserrate, 1590

Lapham’sDaily

The World in Time

Olivier Zunz

Lewis H. Lapham speaks with the author of The Man Who Understood Democracy: The Life of Alexis de Tocqueville. More