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Taking up Serpents: Snake Handlers of Eastern Kentucky
     

Taking up Serpents: Snake Handlers of Eastern Kentucky

by David L. Kimbrough
 

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The Holiness serpent handlers, who originated around 1910, are one of the most controversial religious groups in America. Their practices have brought them into conflict with authorities many times, and the often sensationalized media accounts of their services fascinate and horrify us.

Overview

The Holiness serpent handlers, who originated around 1910, are one of the most controversial religious groups in America. Their practices have brought them into conflict with authorities many times, and the often sensationalized media accounts of their services fascinate and horrify us.

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Library Journal
Kimbrough presents his research, based primarily on oral interviews, on the history of the religious ritual of snake handling. He focuses on the Saylor family to illustrate the evolution of the snake-handling movement, which intensified as the economy and lifestyle of the Appalachian Mountain region moved from agricultural subsistence to industrial capitalism. When families moved from farms to coal fields, folk religions emerged to fulfill emotional needs not met by traditional churches. Kimbrough's work is much more scholarly and analytical than Dennis Covington's Salvation on Sand Mountain (LJ 12/94) and more narrowly focused than Thomas Burton's Snake Handling Believers (LJ 3/15/93). Recommended for academic collections.Eloise R. Hitchcock, Tennessee Technological Univ. Lib., Cookeville

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807822272
Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press, The
Publication date:
02/29/2000
Pages:
232

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