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Not much to add to the title. Have there been any Christians with a scholarly background who had an overtly supernatural conversion or supernatural experiences after their conversion? The apostle Paul is the first example that comes to mind, given (1) his scholarly background as a former Pharisee and (2) his supernatural conversion on the way to Damascus, as well as all the miracles, signs and wonders that he witnessed/performed during his apostolic ministry. Have there been any others? What about more recent times?

Note: by scholarly background I mean someone with a strong intellectual formation. That certainly includes people with a doctorate in a theological/philosophical field, but also engineers, physicists, mathematicians, scientists, etc., and, in general, anyone with evidence of "intellectual prowess".

Note: by overtly supernatural I mean any kind of experience that would be very hard to explain away as coincidence, random chance, placebo effect, natural/spontaneous remission (in the case of diseases), suggestion, hypnosis or mere psychology. Please see this answer for illustrative examples.


Somewhat related:

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  • By scholarly background, do you mean a doctorate in a theological/philosophical field?
    – Luke Hill
    Oct 19 '21 at 20:12
  • 3
    The most studied 20th century scholar conversion is by far C.S. Lewis. In addition to primary accounts spread over several of his own books and essays, there have been countless articles, thesis and books written by others. This article contains the most important parts, but there are a lot of backstory and after thoughts where we get enrichment of his encounter spread over several years. My point is: despite the lack of "sign and wonder" it's as supernatural as any genuine conversion ! And it doesn't have to be a single event! Oct 19 '21 at 20:24
  • 2
    @SpiritRealmInvestigator I have exchanged maybe > 100 messages with you by now, and I noticed your thirst for a particular type of "supernaturality" which contains some "miraculous" elements that are very distinguishable from regular feelings / convictions. When it comes to conversion I don't think it's wise to only expect those elements, which were present in St. Paul but I don't think it's present in C.S. Lewis. It's the resulting conviction that matters, and in Christian theology, which is called faith, it's supernaturally infused, a gift of the Holy Spirit. Oct 19 '21 at 20:40
  • 2
    @SpiritRealmInvestigator I just don't want you to miss out how God mostly works through ordinary things, like in this story. For some reason, God likes to stay hidden. Don't ask me why. Oct 19 '21 at 20:52
  • 1
    I do not share some parts of my testimony with many Christians as it has produced discomfort in some (mostly cessationists). As for "intellectual prowess"...not as compared to many. Bachelors of Science and no interest in continuing any further. Nov 21 '21 at 13:47
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James Tour seems to more or less fit the bill. According to Wikipedia:

James Mitchell Tour (born 1959) is an American chemist and nanotechnologist. He is a Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Materials Science and NanoEngineering, and Professor of Computer Science at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He supports the idea that life could not have arisen spontaneously, and his work has been used by various religious groups to attack Darwinism and the theory of abiogenesis.

Education
Tour received degrees from Syracuse University (BS, 1981), Purdue University (PhD, 1986) and completed postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (1986–1987) and Stanford University (1987–1988).

In addition to his academic credentials, James also claims to have had a supernatural encounter with the risen Christ (i.e. a Christophany) when he was about 18 years old, which led to his conversion from Jew to Messianic Jew. His testimony can be found on ONE FOR ISRAEL Ministry's YouTube Channel. The video is titled Jewish scientist (James Tour) makes the greatest Jewish discovery!!. The following is the transcript of an excerpt from the video:

4:15

[...] And then, on November 7th 1977, I was all alone in my room. The realization that Yeshua is the one who died on the cross. And I said, "Lord, I am a sinner. Please, forgive me, come into my life!". Then, all of a sudden, someone was in my room. And I opened my eyes -- I was on my knees -- I opened my eyes. Who was in my room? That man, Jesus Christ, stood in my room. This amazing sense of God. Jesus was in my room! And I wasn't scared. All I started doing was just weeping. The presence was so glorious because He was there, in my room, on that day. I didn't want to get up. And this amazing sense of forgiveness just started to come upon me. That was Him. Finally I got up. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know who to tell ... Here's this Jewish kid from NY city. What am I going to say? [...]

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EDIT: I guess one could attempt to explain away James Tour's experience as "merely psychological", meaning that James probably had a hallucination, schizophrenia, etc. To be honest, I'm not an expert in psychology, so I don't feel confident enough to give a definite assessment of James' psychological state based on the details he provides in his testimony. However, notice that he did not mention having used any type of drug that could have induced a hallucination, and, to the best of my knowledge, James Tour does not suffer from schizophrenia or any other known mental disorder that could account for such an experience. But again, I'm by no stretch an expert, so I'm more than happy to hear from people more knowledgeable in psychology, neuroscience or related areas as to possible alternative explanations for James' experience.

EDIT 2: By the way, James Tour has his own YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/DrJamesTour/), where he frequently uploads content on science and the Christian faith.

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  • Why can't this be explained away as 'merely psychological'? ;) Oct 21 '21 at 23:19
  • @OneGodtheFather - I actually thought of raising that objection as well :-), but then I realized that I'm not an expert in psychology and I couldn't think of any mental disorder other than schizophrenia, and I seriously doubt that James Tour has schizophrenia. Do you have any other mental disorder in mind? Oct 21 '21 at 23:38
  • No, but people can have hallucinations or dreams that seem real without having a mental illness. It happens. I'm merely trying to poke holes in it, as that is what our committed naturalist would do. ;) Oct 22 '21 at 22:17
  • @OneGodtheFather - Right, I just remembered the God helmet experiments, although their validity has been called into question. On a serious note, how likely do you think it is that James Tour hallucinated the whole thing? Oct 22 '21 at 23:13
  • My guess given the little I know about it is ~0%. Oct 23 '21 at 0:23
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Yes, Charismatics have scholarly journals.

The Charismatic movement can be roughly defined as a movement of churches and denominations that hold that the Holy Spirit moves among the faithful and actively performs miracles; this includes things like faith healing through the laying on of hands, the speaking of tongues, being "blown down by the Holy Spirit", etc. In many of these churches, these sorts of events are a weekly event during their Sunday services.

They can also count a number of highly educated individuals amongst their ranks, and some denominations within them have active scholarly journals of theology. For instance, the Vineyard Movement is a Charismatic denomination that runs the Society of Vineyard Scholars, which have regular conferences and run an academic journal.

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  • Interesting. A similar example along the same line seems to be Heidi Baker, who holds a PhD in systematic theology from King's College London and also claims to have had many miraculous/supernatural experiences with Jesus. Oct 20 '21 at 12:14
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A number of notable academic Saints have had mystical experiences. Beginning with my favorites, the Dominicans, I can think of two saints off the bat who had strong intellects and scholarly pursuits as well as mystical experiences/miracle working.

The first is Saint Thomas Aquinas. Possibly the pre-eminent scholar of the entire history of Christendom and well known for his Summa Theologiae, his intellect might not be rivaled by any save Saint Augustine and his own teacher, Saint Albert the Great. Yet we are told he had a mystical vision of Christ and a mystical foretaste of heaven which caused him to stop writing his incomplete magnum opus, proclaiming that everything he had written thus far was "straw." Straw compared to heaven, to be sure, but pearls and precious gold to those of us still working out our salvation.

The second Dominican who comes to mind might surprise you: Saint Martin de Porres. He is not widely noted for his intellectual powers, rather his humility and his miraculous healings. He was a mixed-race man at a time and in a place (South America during the colonization era) when being so was not looked upon with anything but scorn. Still, after a few years of denying fatherhood, his biological father, a civilized Spaniard, took responsibility for his children and provided for an education for Martin. Martin went on to apprentice with a barber (who in those days were also medical practitioners) and later to join the lay Dominicans, serving the religious brothers in menial tasks. He was eventually professed as a religious brother himself, though he never sought it. We know from the testament of his peers that he was well read in the Church Fathers and Aquinas, even correcting some novices in nuanced theological errors when he overheard their conversations, and we also know from their testimony (for his humility did not permit him to speak of this himself) that he would often steal away to experience ecstasies after receiving the Blessed Sacrament. The common people also admired him for his miraculous healings of the sick.

A non-Dominican who comes to mind is Saint Teresa of Avila, the Carmelite reformer. The fact that she is a Doctor of the Church should be witness enough to her intellectual powers. She also experienced an ecstasy so great it has been immortalized in marble and gold.

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  • +1 Yes, I agree with St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Thérèse of Avila, but not Saint Martin de Porres, who was a simple lay brother and not an intellectual acedemicly speaking.
    – Ken Graham
    Nov 18 '21 at 16:08
  • He's not known for his academic prowess, but there is testimony showing he was intellectually gifted. If we're sticking to Saints primarily known for academics, then you're correct.
    – jaredad7
    Nov 18 '21 at 16:17
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Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) was an 18th century Swedish scientist and philosopher who later turned his mind to theology when, he said, the Lord (Jesus) opened his spiritual eyes and commissioned him to explain the spiritual meaning of Scripture—a commission that was later expanded to correcting and renewing Christian theology as a whole.

Dozens of biographies of Swedenborg have been published over the years. Here are two that provide excellent source material for the question. The links are to their pages at the publisher's website:

  1. A Scientist Explores Spirit: A Biography of Emanuel Swedenborg, by George F. Dole and Robert Kirven
  2. Emanuel Swedenborg: Visionary Savant in the Age of Reason, by Ernst Benz, translated by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke

The first is a compact illustrated biography authored by two Swedenborgian scholars. The second is an extensive scholarly biography originally published in German, Munich, 1948.

Swedenborg, the eldest surviving son of influential Swedish Lutheran Bishop Jesper Swedberg (1653–1735), showed early promise intellectually. He began studies at Uppsala University at the age of eleven, graduating at the age of 22. He then traveled through continental Europe, studying the works of the leading scientists and philosophers of the day, including Renee Descartes and Isaac Newton.

From his late 20s to his mid-50s, Swedenborg served as an Assessor on the Swedish Board of Mines. He also took a seat in the Swedish House of Nobles when his family was ennobled by newly enthroned Queen Ulrika Eleonora in 1719, and continued in that position for the rest of his life. Meanwhile, he wrote books on many scientific and philosophical subjects, including cosmology, chemistry, metallurgy, psychology, and anatomy. In his Basic Principles of Nature (traditionally Principia), published in Latin, Dresden and Leipzig, 1734, he proposed a nebular hypothesis for the formation of the solar system decades before similar systems were developed by Immanuel Kant and Pierre-Simon Laplace.

Swedenborg's scientific and philosophical works received positive reviews in the contemporary press. Some of them, especially his works on metallurgy, became standard works on the subject in 18th century Europe.

In 1743, when Swedenborg was in his mid-50s, he began having spiritual experiences. These included several visions of Christ in which, he said, the Lord called him to leave behind his scientific career and begin a new spiritual career. In support of this, Swedenborg said, the Lord opened Swedenborg's spiritual eyes so that he could be fully conscious in the spiritual world at will even while he continued to live in his physical body in the material world.

Swedenborg said that at the same time the Lord gave him a commission of explaining the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures, not based on anything taught to him by angels and spirits, but under the Lord's direct guidance as Swedenborg read the Bible. According to Swedenborg, this revelation of the spiritual meaning of the Bible, and of the teachings of true Christianity, constituted the Lord's Second Coming—which he said was a spiritual event, not a physical one. (Just to be clear, Swedenborg did not consider himself to be the Lord's Second Coming. He signed his final theological work, "Emanuel Swedenborg, Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.") Here is Swedenborg's own published statement on these subjects:

This Second Coming of the Lord Is Taking Place by Means of Someone to Whom the Lord Has Manifested Himself in Person and Whom He Has Filled with His Spirit So That That Individual Can Present the Teachings of the New Church on the Lord's Behalf through the Agency of the Word

The Lord cannot manifest himself to everyone in person, as has been shown just above [776-778], and yet he foretold that he would come and build a new church, which is the New Jerusalem. Therefore it follows that he is going to accomplish this through the agency of a human being who can not only accept these teachings intellectually but also publish them in printed form.

I testify in truth that the Lord manifested himself to me, his servant, and assigned me to this task; after doing so, he opened the sight of my spirit and brought me into the spiritual world; and he has allowed me to see the heavens and the hells and to have conversations with angels and spirits on a continual basis for many years now. I also testify that ever since the first day of this calling, I have accepted nothing regarding the teachings of this church from any angel; what I have received has come from the Lord alone while I was reading the Word. (True Christianity #779)

During the remaining three decades of his life, Swedenborg wrote many volumes of Bible commentary and topical doctrinal works, beginning with his eight-volume (in Latin) work Arcana Coelestia ("Secrets of Heaven"), a verse-by-verse spiritual commentary on the books of Genesis and Exodus, published in London, 1749–1756, and ending with the publication of True Christianity, a full presentation of his theology using the standard form of a Lutheran systematic theology, in Amsterdam, 1771. In addition to these two, some of his better known theological works are Heaven and Hell (1758), Divine Love and Wisdom (1763), Divine Providence (1764), Apocalypse Revealed (1766), and Marriage Love (1768). The standard English edition of his theological works takes up thirty volumes.

Heaven and Hell, which provides a detailed eyewitness account of the spiritual world, has always been Swedenborg's most popular work. Since its original publication in Latin in 1758, it has gone through hundreds of editions in dozens of languages.

In summary, Emanuel Swedenborg fully fits the description of a Christian "who had both a scholarly background and overtly supernatural experiences."

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+100

Based on the example provided, I will assume that by scholarly, you are not just referring to advanced religious education by highly educated in general. Many highly educated Catholics have strongly believed in miracles throughout the centuries, so that is not a rare circumstance. In my examples, I will raise the bar and focus mostly on miracles that can be externally verified instead of relying solely on visions that someone reported seeing. One of the foremost theologians among the early church father was a strong believer in miracles, as did many of his contemporaries. This is what Irenaeus wrote about miracles.

Yea, moreover, as I have said, the dead even have been raised up, and remained among us for many years. And what shall I more say? It is not possible to name the number of the gifts which the Church, [scattered] throughout the whole world, has received from God, in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and which she exerts day by day for the benefit of the Gentiles, neither practising deception upon any, nor taking any reward from them* [on account of such miraculous interpositions]. For as she has received freely from God, freely also does she minister [to others]**. (Against Heresies, book 2, chapter 32, section 4)

Saint Francis Xavier, d. 1552, was born in wealth and became well educated , even teaching Aristotelian philosophy at the University of Paris. Saint Francis Xavier traveled to many different places on different missions during which he performed many miracles even resurrections. In India, when he was about to begin Mass in a small church at Coimbatore, a mother threw herself at the feet of St. Francis, begging for help since her child had just drowned in a well. Francis said a short prayer, took the dead child by the hand, and commanded him to rise. The child rose and immediately ran to his mother. He also commanded a storm at sea to be calm and saved the ship from sinking.

People still go to the Basilica of Bom Jesus Goa, in India, where St. Francis is buried, and many have reported receiving healing there. The church blog mentions some of the characteristics of St. Francis which likely contributed to the miraculous power he demonstrated.

"He walked with a joyful, calm face" and "Everywhere he went he always went with laughter in his face"..

“St. Francis Xavier had unlimited confidence in God this in turn freed him from discouragement in theface of obstacles and reverses. This total confidence he had in God enabled him to travel through life with his sense of joy and enthusiasm. “

He wrote to a fellow Jesuits about his safe arrival after traveling once.... "In this life, we find our greatest comfort living in the midst of danger, that is, if we confront them solely for the love of God."

Charles Finney, d. 1875, was a lawyer and became one of the greatest American ministers of his day. During his revivals, 50,000 people were making decisions to follow Christ per week. He also worked tirelessly to end slavery. In The Supernatural Occurrences Of Charles G. Finney, he reported the vision he had of Jesus.

There was no fire, and no light, in the room; nevertheless it appeared to me as if it were perfectly light.30 As I went in and shut the door after me, it seemed as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face. It did not occur to me then, nor did it for some time afterward, that it was wholly a mental state. 31 On the contrary it seemed to me that I saw him as I would see any other man. He said nothing, but looked at me in such a manner as to break me right down at his feet. I have always since regarded this as a most remarkable state of mind; for it seemed to me a reality, that he stood before me, and I fell down at his feet and poured out my soul to him. I wept aloud like a child, and made such confessions as I could with my choked utterance. It seemed to me that I bathed his feet with my tears; and yet I had no distinct impression that I touched him, that I recollect. I must have continued in this state for a good while; but my mind was too much absorbed with the interview to recollect anything that I said. But I know, as soon as my mind became calm enough to break off from the interview, I returned to the front office, and found that the fire that I had made of large wood was nearly burned out. p 15.

He recounts many miracles including how a possessed woman was delivered when she came to one of his meetings. He also tells the story of a professor of religion who came to his office one evening to tell him that his wife would not live through the night. He felt a burden that seemed to crush him with an intense desire to pray for her.

I stayed a considerable time in the church, in this state of mind, but got no relief. I returned to the office; but could not sit still. I could only walk the room and agonize. I returned to the meeting house again, and went through the same process of struggling. For a long time I tried to get my prayer before the Lord; but somehow words could not express it. I could only groan and weep, without being able to express what I wanted in words. I returned to the office again, and still found I was unable to rest; and I returned a third time to the meeting house. At this time the Lord gave me power to prevail. I was enabled to roll the burden upon him; and I obtained the assurance in my own mind that the woman would not die, and indeed that she would never die in her sins. I returned to the office. My mind was perfectly quiet; and I soon left and retired to rest. Early the next morning the husband of this woman came into the office. I inquired how his wife was. He, smiling said, “She’s alive, and to all appearance better this morning.” I replied, “Brother W—, she will not die with this sickness; you may rely upon it. And she will never die in her sins.” I do not know how I was made sure of this; but it was in some way made plain to me, so that I had no doubt that she would recover. She did recover, and soon after obtained a hope in Christ. p. 23

Elijah Stephens earned degrees in Psychology and Philosopy and a graduate degree in Aplogetics and Science and Religion from Biola. He founded Star Gazer Media Group in 2015, which focuses on creating media and bridges the gap between the intellectual and the spiritual. He launched a Kickstarter project and was funded to make the documentary Send Proof: IF MIRACLES ARE REAL… WHERE’S THE EVIDENCE? The purpose for the film was to create a path for the kingdom of God using science, reason, evidence, and logic to influence the realms of science, academia, and medicine by presenting the world with medically verified healings which help legitimize the supernatural. He interviewed medical researchers, physicians, apologists, and even skeptics to present a balanced and scientifically based argument. You can view a preview of his work here. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/simplykingdom/miracle-evidence-documentary

Heidi Baker grew up with a privileged background and received a PhD from King’s College in Oxford but she left everything behind to serve God in the poorest country in the world, Mozambique. In her book, Birthing the Miraculous, she compared the life of Mary to life in the little African communities where she served. In the midst of her mundane duties for survival, Mary received an angelic visit with a stunning promise, she would give birth to the Son of the Most High. Isn’t that what the miraculous is all about – revealing God to the world? It often comes at a cost, as it did for Mary, who had to explain how she got pregnant before getting married. This does add a new perspective to miracles, emphasizing the human aspect in combination with the divine. Time and again, the Bakers' existence was sustained by miracles. Due to the difficult conditions and stress, Heidi contracted double pneumonia. God provided the means for her to travel to Toronto where she received an instantaneous miraculous healing and then received a very unusual vision. She shared this many times and it is something my Catholic friends in particular should appreciate. It's not something you would expect from a Protestant which lends to its credibility.

Years ago, I had a vision of Jesus surrounded by a multitude of children. Jesus looked at me with His intense, burning eyes of love, and I was completely undone. He told me to feed the children, and I began to cry out loud, "No! There are too many!" He asked me to look into His eyes, and He said, "I died that there would always be enough." Then He reached down and broke a piece of flesh out of His right side. His eyes were so magnificently beautiful, yet His body so bruised and broken. He handed me a piece of His flesh, and as I took it and stretched my hand out to the first child, it became fresh bread! I gave the bread to the children and they all ate. Then He put a simple poor man's cup next to His side and filled it with blood and water. He told me it was a cup of "suffering and joy," and asked me if I would drink it. I drank it and then started to give it to the children. It became drink for them. Again He said, "I died that there would always be enough." Since that day, I have taken in every orphan child He has put in front of me, and have asked my co-workers to do the same.

Once, government officials closed down their orphanage in Chihango for preaching the gospel and they fled to Mozambique. Someone from the American embassy brought her family of four enough chili and rice for a meal. She began serving the 50 orphans with them and God multiplied the food so everyone could eat.

I have heard Heidi speak and it was a very interesting experience to say the least. I greatly admire her dedication to serving the poorest of the poor at great personal cost. I conclude with this searching question from the book mentioned above, “God has promised us miracles. Are you willing to do what it takes to see them through?”

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Besides Paul, have there been any other Christians who had both a scholarly background and overtly supernatural experiences?

I believe St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe fits the bill here.

St. Maximilian Kolbe had a doctorate in both philosophy and theology and experienced visions of Mary the Mother of Jesus.

Maximilian Maria Kolbe (8 January 1894 – 14 August 1941), venerated as Saint Maximilian Kolbe, was a Polish Catholic priest and Conventual Franciscan friar who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the German death camp of Auschwitz, located in German-occupied Poland during World War II.

Kolbe's life was strongly influenced in 1906, when he was 12, by a vision of the Virgin Mary. He later described this incident:

That night I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked me if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both.

Kolbe was sent to Rome in 1912, where he attended the Pontifical Gregorian University. He earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1915 there. From 1915 he continued his studies at the Pontifical University of St. Bonaventure, where he earned a doctorate in theology in 1919 or 1922 (sources vary).

In some more in-depth biographical works, one can read the visions which he desired not to be spoken of, especially during his time in Japan. He normally only spoke of such things to solemnly professed members of the Franciscan order. The Postulator of his Cause wrote an amazing book on his life.

In fact the most famous vision of the two crowns was revealed publicly after his death by his own mother.

At the present moment, there is a Catholic movement to have St. Maximilian Kolbe declared a ”Doctor of the Church”.

And speaking of ”Doctors of the Church”, one could add to this a number of Catholic Doctors of the Church, most notably:

Doctor of the Church, also referred to as Doctor of the Universal Church (Doctor Ecclesiae Universalis), is a title given by the Catholic Church to saints recognized as having made a significant contribution to theology or doctrine through their research, study, or writing.

In addition, parts of the Catholic Church have recognised other individuals with this title.

St. Ildephonsus of Toledo is one of them. St. Ildephonsus was born circa 607, died 23 January 667) was a scholar and theologian who served as the metropolitan Bishop of Toledo for the last decade of his life. His Gothic name was Hildefuns.

There is an event in the life of st. Ildephonsus that has been written in the annals of his biography of special note.

The Church in Spain celebrates the Descent of the Virgin Mary to St. Ildephonsus in which she presented him with a chasuble. Se this article for more details: Chasuble of Saint Ildephonsus

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  • @jongricafort Please stop posting mini answers in the comment box. If you can post answer that lives up, to the standards of the site, please do so and leave it at that.
    – Ken Graham
    Nov 21 '21 at 2:30
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Besides Paul, have there been any other Christians who had both a scholarly background and overtly supernatural experiences?

The greatest in terms of scholarly achievement is St. Alphonsus Liguori, as a brilliant lawyer turn into a Priest.

Alphonsus was not sent to school but was educated by tutors under his father's eye. At the age of sixteen, on 21 January, 1713, he took his degree as Doctor of Laws, although twenty was the age fixed by the statutes. He said himself that he was so small at the time as to be almost buried in his doctor's gown and that all the spectators laughed. Soon after this the boy began his studies for the Bar, and about the age of nineteen practised his profession in the courts. In the eight years of his career as advocate, years crowded with work, he is said never to have lost a case. Even if there be some exaggeration in this, for it is not in an advocate's power always to be on the winning side, the tradition shows that he was extraordinarily able and successful. In fact, despite his youth, he seems at the age of twenty-seven to have been one of the leaders of the Neapolitan Bar. - St. Alphonsus Liguori

St. Alphonsus Liguori "Road to Damascus";

There can be little doubt but that the young Alphonsus with his high spirits and strong character was ardently attached to his profession, and on the way to be spoilt by the success and popularity which it brought. About the year 1722, when he was twenty-six years old, he began to go constantly into society, to neglect prayer and the practices of piety which had been an integral part of his life, and to take pleasure in the attention with which he was everywhere received.

"Banquets, entertainments, theatres," he wrote later on--"these are the pleasures of the world, but pleasures which are filled with the bitterness of gall and sharp thorns. Believe me who have experienced it, and now weep over it." In all this there was no serious sin, but there was no high sanctity either, and God, Who wished His servant to be a saint and a great saint, was now to make him take the road to Damascus. In 1723 there was a lawsuit in the courts between a Neapolitan nobleman, whose name has not come down to us, and the Grand Duke of Tuscany, in which property valued at 500,000 ducats, that to say, $500,000 or 100,000 pounds, was at stake. Alphonsus was one of the leading counsel; we do not know on which side. When the day came the future Saint made a brilliant opening speech and sat down confident of victory. But before he called a witness the opposing counsel said to him in chilling tones: "Your arguments are wasted breath. You have overlooked a document which destroys your whole case." "What document is that?" said Alphonsus somewhat piqued. "Let us have it." A piece of evidence was handed to him which he had read and re-read many times, but always in a sense the exact contrary of that which he now saw it to have. The poor advocate turned pale. He remained thunderstruck for a moment; then said in a broken voice: "You are right. I have been mistaken. This document gives you the case." In vain those around him and even the judge on the bench tried to console him. He was crushed to the earth. He thought his mistake would be ascribed not to oversight but to deliberate deceit. He felt as if his career was ruined, and left the court almost beside himself, saying: "World, I know you now. Courts, you shall never see me more." For three days he refused all food. Then the storm subsided, and he began to see that his humiliation had been sent him by God to break down his pride and wean him from the world. Confident that some special sacrifice was required of him, though he did not yet know what, he did not return to his profession, but spent his days in prayer, seeking to know God's will. After a short interval--we do not know exactly how long--the answer came. On 28 August, 1723, the young advocate had gone to perform a favourite act of charity by visiting the sick in the Hospital for Incurables. Suddenly he found himself surrounded by a mysterious light; the house seemed to rock, and an interior voice said: "Leave the world and give thyself to Me." This occurred twice. Alphonsus left the Hospital and went to the church of the Redemption of Captives. Here he laid his sword before the statue of Our Lady, and made a solemn resolution to enter the ecclesiastical state, and furthermore to offer himself as a novice to the Fathers of the Oratory. He knew that trials were before him. His father, already displeased at the failure of two plans for his son's marriage, and exasperated at Alphonsus's present neglect of his profession, was likely to offer a strenuous opposition to his leaving the world. So indeed it proved. He had to endure a real persecution for two months. - St. Alphonsus Liguori

The humiliation is a wake-up call, as St.Alphonsus never lose a case in his court battle, and this is like opening his eyes to a more important matter in life, is winning the case for the glory of God.

Alphonsus Liguori CSsR (27 September 1696 – 1 August 1787), sometimes called Alphonsus Maria de Liguori or Saint Alphonsus Liguori, was an Italian Catholic bishop, spiritual writer, composer, musician, artist, poet, lawyer, scholastic philosopher, and theologian.

He founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, known as the Redemptorists, in November 1732. In 1762 he was appointed Bishop of Sant'Agata dei Goti. A prolific writer, he published nine editions of his Moral Theology in his lifetime, in addition to other devotional and ascetic works and letters. Among his best known works are The Glories of Mary and The Way of the Cross, the latter still used in parishes during Lenten devotions.

He was canonized in 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1871. One of the most widely read Catholic authors, he is the patron saint of confessors.

Here are the list of St.Alphonsus Liguori's works, a brilliant scholar indeed, not just in the legal world but in the supernatural world or realm of God wonders and mysteries. A true great Doctor of the Church and one of the great Marian Saints.

Liguori's greatest contribution to the Catholic Church was in the area of moral theology. His masterpiece was The Moral Theology (1748), which was approved by the Pope himself and was born of Liguori's pastoral experience, his ability to respond to the practical questions posed by the faithful and his contact with their everyday problems. He opposed sterile legalism and strict rigourism. According to him, those were paths closed to the Gospel because "such rigour has never been taught nor practised by the Church". His system of moral theology is noted for its prudence, avoiding both laxism and excessive rigour. He is credited with the position of Aequiprobabilism, which avoided Jansenist rigorism as well as laxism and simple probabilism. Since its publication it has remained in Latin, often in 10 volumes or in the combined 4-volume version of Gaudé. It saw only recently its first publication in translation, in an English translation made by Ryan Grant and published in 2017 by Mediatrix Press. The English translation of the work is projected to be around 5 volumes.

Mariology

His Mariology, though mainly pastoral in nature, rediscovered, integrated and defended that of St Augustine of Hippo, St Ambrose of Milan and other fathers; it represented an intellectual defence of Mariology in the 18th century, the Age of Enlightenment, against the rationalism to which contrasted his fervent Marian devotion.

  • The Glories of Mary,

  • Marian Devotion,

  • Prayers to the Divine Mother

  • Spiritual Songs,

  • The True Spouse of Jesus Christ (original: La Vera Sposa di Gesu-Cristo, cioè la Monaca Santa per Mezzo delle Virtù proprie d’una Religiosa (first edition: 1760-61))

Other works

  • Great Means of Salvation and of Perfection,

  • The Way of Salvation and of Perfection,

  • The Way of the Cross,

  • The Triumph of the Church over all heresies. A History of Heresies and Their Refutation,

  • The Council of Trent,

  • Truth of the Faith ("Verita della Fede", there is no known English translation of this book from the Italian),

  • Preparation for Death, The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ

  • The Holy Eucharist,

  • Uniformity with God's Will (pamphlet)

  • Victories of the Martyrs,

St. Alphonsus Liguori (Wikipedia)

But if one, are looking for the greatness of St.Alphosus Ligouri be summarized in one great phrase, it would be the phrase that identifies Mary as the "another Advocate" that reveals the gospel mystery behind Jesus promising all the Apostles, "I will not leave you orphan", because Jesus was thinking of the Will of the Father to give the presious gift, He will give all the redeemed a Mother, for them not be orphan, a Mother that will give birth to a new Christ, the true Christian who will born from Her Immaculate Heart. Because, Jesus will ask God the Father, to send the Holy Spirit to anoint the "another Advocate". Who is the "another Advocate" in the great wisdom of one of the great Doctor of the Church and one of the great Marian Saints?

"Son, behold your Mother." - John19:27

St. Liguori, expresses this contemplative thoughts, "In His eagerness to show you salvation, he sent Jesus Christ as the first advocate, and to grow more in confidence, God gives you another advocate...

"...Go to Mary and you will find salvation.." - St. Alphonsus Liguori

1

An amazing modern-day miracle occurred in Romania about 30 years ago. The pastor whose prayers preceded the miracle, Dr. Pavel Goia, has sermons on YouTube and is still active in his church. He is very well educated, although at the time of the miracle he was a young pastor and had only his baccalaureate degree in engineering--having graduated at the top of his class. Much of his life story, which included many miracles of which the following is but one, is recorded in the book "One Miracle After Another," by Greg Budd.

Here is the last part of Chapter 12 of his book:

. . . With the economy really struggling, many of the church members were all too familiar with hunger. There just wasn't enough of anything to go around. Each day was a new test of faith and trust in God. The shortages included gas for their cars. Long lines around gas stations had become a way of life. Those who wanted to drive would have to wait in line as long as it took. There was no escaping it. Sometimes it meant sleeping in the car for a day or two in line. Once a car finally reached the pump, 10 gallons was all that could be purchased for the entire month. Gas was so precious that drivers advanced their cars in the waiting line by pushing them rather than wasting the fuel to start them.

With an appointment the following day, Pavel knew he would have to make a trip to the gas station just outside of Oțelu Roșu. He could only hope the line wouldn't be more than a day long. Just as he passed the city limit sign he came to a long line of creeping cars. A horse pulling a wagon loaded with firewood plodded along, setting the pace. The winding, two-lane country road had precious few places straight enough for passing, and the line of cars continued to lengthen behind the horse.

As the horse and wagon slowly rounded a bend, a straight stretch of road opened up, providing the weary drivers a long-awaited opportunity to pass. When Pavel reached the wagon, he edged to the center of the road in order to get a clear view of oncoming traffic. Two cars and a large truck loaded with construction materials were approaching, but they were still far enough away to ensure safe passing. Taking advantage of the opening, he quickly passed the wagon, accelerating back to normal speed. He was still gaining speed when he met oncoming traffic. The two cars passed without incident.

However, when the back bumper of the large truck was even with Pavel's car, a teenage boy, who had apparently been waiting to cross the road, ran out in front of him. With his foot still moving to the brake pedal, Pavel watched in horror as the left side of his car struck the boy's hip and leg. He stared out the windshield in disbelief as the impact threw the boy into the air directly into the path of his car. Desperately trying to avoid hitting the boy for a second time, Pavel slammed on the brakes and jerked the steering wheel to the left. His screeching tires skidded to the center of the road. Each second felt like an eternity. The sick feeling in his stomach intensified as he watched the boy's limp body drop in front of the passenger side of his car. It was impossible to avoid him. With a loud thud, the right side of his car impacted the boy's head and shoulder, causing him to fly into the air a second time. In anguish he watched as the limp form came down, bouncing along the shoulder of the road. If only this were a nightmare.

Skidding to a stop, Pavel jumped from his car and raced back to the motionless body at the side of the road. He feared the worst as he bent over the crumpled form with blood running from his ears, nose, eyes, and mouth. It was quite clear he was unconscious, but at least he was still breathing. Maybe--just maybe--there was a chance he would live. Pavel felt himself go numb from shock as he looked on in helplessness at the dying boy.

The teenager was known as Mene Mene, so nicknamed because of his severe stuttering problem. Disabled and mentally delayed, he was well known by everyone in the area. He traveled all over town, hobbling up and down and sideways all at the same time. He had almost no control of his arms, causing them to flail randomly. He had never been able to play with other kids, and now, though he was 19, it was impossible for him to work. Unable to do anything else, he went around begging, hoping for enough money to buy food. This was not his first time to dart into traffic. He had escaped his previous accidents with minor injuries, but this time his battered body hadn't fared so well.

Another motorist observing the accident stopped to see if he could help. One quick glance said it all. The boy's only chance of survival was an immediate trip to the hospital. With the help of others who had stopped to help, Mene Mene was loaded into the back seat of a nearby vehicle. Thankfully, the hospital in Oțelu Roșu was only a short distance away, and within a few minutes the driver transported him to the emergency room. After a brief examination he was transported by ambulance to a larger hospital in Caransebeș better equipped for trauma patients.

Seeing his condition, hospital staff flew into action, administering oxygen and an IV. Then he was rushed to the X-ray department. Several doctors and nurses gathered as the X-rays were attached to the view box for reading. His injuries were so extensive that there wasn't anything that could be done. His brain was hemorrhaging profusely, his spine was fractured in two places, he had a broken hip, arm, and leg, and one lung was severely punctured, explaining the gurgling sounds coming from his mouth. Without warning, the pulsing beeps of the heart monitor abruptly changed to a haunting, steady tone. With no blood pressure, his life had ended. Resuscitation was not attempted; he was covered with a sheet until he could be transferred to the morgue.

One by one the doctors and nurses filed from the room. They had done all they could--it just wasn't enough. Pavel remained alone in the room with the motionless figure under the sheet. Kneeling by the side of the bed, he began to pray. "God, what are the people in Oțelu Roșu going to say when they hear that I killed a young man just beginning his life? They know I'm a pastor. What will they think? If need be, I am willing to exchange my life for his. I know You are able to bring him back to life if You choose. I'm asking You--please bring him back. Please, God, please!"

As Pavel was pleading with God, one of the doctors came back into the room. Seeing Pavel kneeling beside the bed, he said, "Pastor, he's dead. Can't you see it's too late for you to pray now? You should have thought of praying while he was still alive. Just go home. We're taking him down to the morgue."

"Do you think I'm praying to someone with human limitations? I'm talking to God. He is the God of miracles. Nothing is impossible for Him. In the Bible He raised several people from the dead," Pavel reminded the doctor.

"I know about those stories. But that was back then. Times have changed. I'm afraid I have bad news for you, Pastor. Since neither of us has seen any dead people walking around lately, you might as well go home. It wasn't your fault, and there was nothing you could have done to avoid it. Just face it--it's over." Ending his consolation, the doctor turned and walked away with Pavel still kneeling beside the bed. After the doctor left the room, Pavel got up from his knees and made his way to the door. Silently praying, he glanced one last time at the lifeless form of the boy under the sheet.

At home it was impossible for him to sleep. Every time he closed his eyes the accident flashed before him. With eyes red and swollen, he and Dana cried to God hour after hour for strength. They were exhausted, but sleep would not come. As they prayed, they realized thankfully that they were not suffering alone. They could feel God's presence as the comforter as He whispered:

"My grace is sufficient for you" (2 Corinthians 12:9, NASB).

Just that morning they had read the words of that verse. They certainly needed His grace at that moment. All night he and Dana continued their tear-stained prayers. Together they pleaded, "Dear God, we aren't trying to tell You what You should do, but we know You're able to restore life. You are the one who created it in the beginning. And Lord, if there is any way You can use restoring this young man's life for Your honor and glory, please do it. If You choose not to restore him, we will learn to live with it, even though it won't be easy. Whatever You see best, we will accept it." As hard as it was, they prayed, "Thy will be done."

The next morning Pavel returned to the hospital hoping to speak to Mene Mene's family. Opening the door to the young victim's room, he found him sitting up in bed, eating! As Pavel's shock turned to pure joy, he saw that he was not the only one to be surprised. A host of doctors, nurses, specialists, and hospital administrators were crowded into Mene Mene's room, comparing two sets of X-rays. On the left were X-rays from the day before; on the right was a new set.

Standing behind the medical staff, Pavel listened to their baffled observations: "The X-ray from yesterday clearly shows massive brain hemorrhaging, but the one from today shows absolutely none. It is easy to see on this first X-ray that the spine is broken in two places, but look at this one--his spine is absolutely perfect!"

"And look at the lungs. We all heard him struggling to breathe, with his lungs full of blood. Now look at them," the doctor said, pointing to the X-rays. "They're normal and healthy. And look at his shoulder and hip over here. They're not just greenstick fractures--they're completely shattered. But once again, they're in perfect condition in this new set of X-rays. The only X-rays comparable are for his arm and leg. They appear to be the same in both. We'll have to put them in casts, but other than that, he appears to be in perfect health."

Over and over they stared at the two sets of X-rays, unable to find a reasonable explanation. None of them had ever seen anything like it. They just couldn't believe their eyes. Unless their X-ray machine was seriously defective, they just couldn't explain a patient being clearly dead the day before and being very much alive and eating his breakfast right beside them at that very moment! With every scientific explanation exhausted, a miracle prompted by the prayers of a pastor was the only option left. Silently the doctor who had scoffed the day before pondered the reality that a dead person would soon be walking the streets.

Pavel smiled as he tried to imagine the mortician arriving for work that morning. He probably had opened the door as he did every day, expecting to begin the normal routine. Perhaps he pinched himself to see if he was dreaming when he saw Mene Mene sitting up on the table. Never before had he been greeted by a cadaver! The previous night he distinctly remembered leaving him wrapped on a table. Now here he was, asking for breakfast!

With eyes needing to be reinserted into their sockets, he had stammered into the phone for someone to come down to the morgue and take Mene Mene back upstairs. He no longer qualified as an occupant for one of his stainless-steel tables; he was breathing! Quite possibly he was considering a change in occupations at that very moment.

As the medical specialists turned from looking at the X-rays and began to examine the patient himself, they were confounded by another discovery: Mene Mene now spoke perfectly. Not a hint of stuttering could be detected in his speech. He was without a doubt their most mysterious case.

The doctors put Mene Mene's two remaining broken bones in casts and released him from the hospital. In a few weeks he was ready for his casts to be taken off. When he was able to walk without his crutches, another unexplainable phenomenon became apparent. He had a total transformation in his posture and now had perfect limb control. From that moment on he walked as normally as anyone else.

"If they knew God, they wouldn't be surprised," Pavel thought to himself. "Why would He restore him back to life with his previous limitations? His life would have been miserable all over again. Did they think it was harder for God to restore his limbs than to give him back his life?"

Shortly after Mene Mene's accident, Pavel went to the grocery store hoping to buy a bottle of cooking oil. He wasn't really surprised when he found the shelves empty. Locating a clerk, he asked her if she knew when they would be receiving another shipment of cooking oil. Studying him for a minute, she called to the back of the store, "Sandy! The Adventist pastor is here. Do we have any cooking oil back there? If we do, you better give him a bottle. You never know; he might pray for your family!" People who had never given God a thought were now beginning to have second thoughts.

Word of Mene Mene's miracle had spread to everyone in the small town. When the evangelistic meetings started a couple of weeks later, the church was packed. Many of the visitors stayed after the meetings, asking for prayer. The response from the meetings was like none any of the members had seen before. When the series ended, the church doubled its membership by those joining through baptism. Together the church members praised God for turning a real tragedy into transformed lives. It wasn't only Mene Mene who had been given another chance to live. Those experiencing new spiritual lives felt incredibly blessed as well.

In the Gospel of John the "Resurrection and the Life" called Lazarus from his dusty tomb with a simple command, and from that day on he walked the streets of Bethany as a living testimony. In very much the same way, Mene Mene's restored life declared the Life-giver's power to the people in the small town of Oțelu Roșu. The spring in his step and his perfect stride were irrefutable evidences that His power is still the same today.

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