Them That Believe: The Power and Meaning of the Christian Serpent-Handling Tradition / Edition 1

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Overview

Although outlawed in many states, serpent handling remains an active religious practice-and one that is far more stereotyped than understood. Ralph W. Hood Jr. and W. Paul Williamson have spent fifteen years attending serpent-handling churches in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia, conducting scores of interviews with serpent handlers, and witnessing hundreds of serpent-handling services. In this illuminating book they present the most in-depth, comprehensive study of serpent handling to date. Them That Believe not only explores facets of this religious practice-including handling snakes, preaching, and the near-death experiences of individuals who were bitten but survived-but also provides a rich analysis of this phenomenon from historical, social, religious, and psychological perspectives.

About the Author:
Ralph W. Hood Jr. is Professor of Psychology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a past editor of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. He is editor of the Handbook of Religious Experience and Measures of Religiosity (with Peter C. Hill), and he is coauthor, with Peter C. Hill and Bernie Spilka, of The Psychology of Religion: An Empirical Approach (4th edition)

About the Author:
W. Paul Williamson is Associate Professor of Psychology at Henderson State University. Hood and Williamson are coauthors, with Peter C. Hill, of The Psychology of Religious Fundamentalism

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520255876
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 9/2/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 322
  • Sales rank: 1,262,527
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Ralph W. Hood, Jr. is Professor of Psychology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. W. Paul Williamson is Associate Professor of Psychology at Henderson State University. Hood and Williamson are coauthors, with Peter C. Hill, of The Psychology of Religious Fundamentalism.
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Table of Contents

1 "They shall take up serpents" 1

2 The history of Pentecostalism absent the serpent 13

3 The media and the man : George Went Hensley 37

4 Serpent handling endorsed by the Church of God 52

5 The serpent : sign and symbol 79

6 Trance states : tongues speaking and the anointing 102

7 Extemporaneous sermons in the serpent-handling tradition 117

8 The experience of handling serpents 132

9 The experience of the anointing 157

10 Near-death experience from serpent bites in religious settings 170

11 Music among serpent-handling churches 185

12 Serpent handling and the law : history and empirical studies 208

Epilogue 227

App. 1 Deaths by serpent bite 239

App. 2 Deaths by poison 246

App. 3 The phenomenological interview and hermeneutic techniques of interpretation 247

Notes 267

References 267

Acknowledgments 285

Index 289

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