Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900

Overview

Faith in the Great Physician tells the story of how participants in the evangelical divine healing movement of the late nineteenth century transformed the ways Americans coped with physical affliction and pursued bodily health. Examining the politics of sickness, health, and healing during this period, Heather D. Curtis encourages critical reflection on the theological, cultural, and social forces that come into play when one questions the purpose of suffering and the ...

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Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900

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Overview

Faith in the Great Physician tells the story of how participants in the evangelical divine healing movement of the late nineteenth century transformed the ways Americans coped with physical affliction and pursued bodily health. Examining the politics of sickness, health, and healing during this period, Heather D. Curtis encourages critical reflection on the theological, cultural, and social forces that come into play when one questions the purpose of suffering and the possibility of healing.

Curtis finds that advocates of divine healing worked to revise a deep-seated Christian ethic that linked physical suffering with spiritual holiness. By engaging in devotional disciplines and participating in social reform efforts, proponents of faith cure embraced a model of spiritual experience that endorsed active service, rather than passive endurance, as the proper Christian response to illness and pain.

Emphasizing the centrality of religious practices to the enterprise of divine healing, Curtis sheds light on the relationship among Christian faith, medical science, and the changing meanings of suffering and healing in American culture.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

Students of American religious history and American culture will find this work worthy of attention.

Books and Culture: A Christian Review - Lauren F. Winner
Heather Curtis has done both the historical guild and the church a great favor in so elegantly narrating the history of a movement that challenged long-standing assumptions about the spiritual utility of corporal pain—and, in so doing, remapped our imaginations and transformed our understanding of suffering.
Christian Century - Mark A. Noll
An illuminating and exceedingly careful examination of a historical terrain chock-full of landmines... Its careful attention to the experiences of both laity and elites is as strong as its evenhanded interpretation.
Journal of American History - Rennie B. Schoepflin
Fascinating story told by Heather D. Curtis.
American Studies - Paul Harvey
Thoughtfully rendered study.
Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era - Nancy A. Hardesty
Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860–1900 is an engaging and informative analysis of the divine healing movement, grounded in a wide-ranging view of its social and cultural, medical and religious milieu... Heather Curtis is to be commended for this splendid contribution to the scholarship of the era.
Church History - Pamela E. Klassen
Lyrical and convincing.
Journal of Religion - Lynn S. Neal
Careful historical research that scholars of American religion and American history will find indispensable.
Brethren Life and Thought - James Benedict
A fascinating account.
Choice
Students of American religious history and American culture will find this work worthy of attention.
Choice

Students of American religious history and American culture will find this work worthy of attention.

Mark A. Noll

An illuminating and exceedingly careful examination of a historical terrain chock-full of landmines... Its careful attention to the experiences of both laity and elites is as strong as its evenhanded interpretation.

James Benedict

A fascinating account.

Lauren F. Winner

Heather Curtis has done both the historical guild and the church a great favor in so elegantly narrating the history of a movement that challenged long-standing assumptions about the spiritual utility of corporal pain—and, in so doing, remapped our imaginations and transformed our understanding of suffering.

Paul Harvey

Thoughtfully rendered study.

Nancy A. Hardesty

Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860–1900 is an engaging and informative analysis of the divine healing movement, grounded in a wide-ranging view of its social and cultural, medical and religious milieu... Heather Curtis is to be commended for this splendid contribution to the scholarship of the era.

Pamela E. Klassen

Lyrical and convincing.

Rennie B. Schoepflin

Fascinating story told by Heather D. Curtis.

Lynn S. Neal

Careful historical research that scholars of American religion and American history will find indispensable.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801886867
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2007
  • Series: Lived Religions
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Heather D. Curtis is an assistant professor of the history of Christianity and American religion at Tufts University.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations     ix
Acknowledgments     xi
Introduction     1
A Thorn in the Flesh: Pain, Illness, and Religion in Mid-Nineteenth-Century America     26
Resisting Resignation: The Rise of Religions Healing in the Late Nineteenth Century     51
Acting Faith: The Devotional Ethics and Gendered Dynamics of Divine Healing     81
The Use of Means: Divine Healing as Devotional Practice     109
Houses of Healing: Sacred Space, Social Geography, and Gender in Divine Healing     139
The Lord for the Body, the Gospel for the Nations: Divine Healing and Social Reform     167
Conclusion     192
Notes     211
Bibliography     241
Index     261
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