Taking up Serpents : Snake Handlers of Eastern Kentucky / Edition 1

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In Taking Up Serpents: A History of Snake Handling David Kimbrough explains the history and practice of serpent-handling believers from the perspective of a respectful and scholarly participant-observer. While this is a story of Kimbrough's experiences with the Saylor family of eastern Kentucky, Kimbrough explains the origins of serpent handling as they emerged in the teachings of George Hensley of the Grasshopper community near Cleveland, Tennessee.
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Editorial Reviews

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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780865547988
  • Publisher: Mercer University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Snake Handlers Pass Challenge of Blowtorch 13
2 The Beginning 39
3 The Move to Kentucky 49
4 The Saylors 59
5 Industrialization 73
6 Industry and Snake Handling 96
7 Back to Tennessee 117
8 Fights with the Law 136
9 Relying on Prayer 166
10 Outmigration and Traditions 171
Conclusion 187
Notes 191
Bibliography 217
Index 227
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