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Them That Believe The Power and Meaning of the Christian Serpent-Handling Tradition

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ISBN-10: 0520255879

ISBN-13: 9780520255876

Edition: 2008

Authors: Ralph W. Hood, W. Paul Williamson

List price: $34.95
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Description:

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 touring serpent-handling churches in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, 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 Believenot only explores facets of this religious practice--including handling, 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.
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Book details

List price: $34.95
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 9/2/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 328
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

Ralph W. Hood, Jr., is a social psychologist with a long-standing interest in the psychology of religion. He is currently a professor of psychology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Although not a fundamentalist, Dr. Hood believes that fundamentalism has been poorly portrayed in the psychology of religion by researchers and scholars who are so distant from the assumptions and worldview of fundamentalists that they offer explanations for a phenomenon they have not adequately or fairly described. Peter C. Hill was raised an evangelical in a family strongly committed to the church. He is currently a professor of psychology at Biola University's Rosemead School of Psychology. Biola University played a significant role in the early days of the Protestant fundamentalist movement and today identifies itself as an "interdenominational and yet theologically conservative" institution. The Rosemead School of Psychology seeks to advance a psychologically and Christian theologically integrated understanding of human nature. W. Paul Williamson was born the son of a Church of God (of Prophecy) minister. He followed in his father's footsteps and became an ordained minister in the denomination, serving 17 years of full-time ministry. During his doctoral studies, he felt the need to resign from the clergy and from his affiliation with the church to pursue a career in academic psychology. He is currently an assistant professor of psychology at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Dr. Williamson draws upon a wealth of experience in a Pentecostal tradition, both as a former member and as clergy, allowing him unique insights into its fundamentalist worldview.

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Preface
"They Shall Take up Serpents"
The History of Pentecostalism Absent the Serpent
The Media and the Man: George Went Hensley
Serpent Handling Endorsed by the Church of God
The Serpent: Sign and Symbol
Trance States: Tongues Speaking and the Anointing
Extemporaneous Sermons in the Serpent-Handling Tradition
The Experience of Handling Serpents
The Experience of the Anointing
Near-Death Experience from Serpent Bites in Religious Settings
Music among Serpent-Handling Churches
Serpent Handling and the Law: History and Empirical Studies
Epilogue
Deaths by Serpent Bite
Deaths by Poison
The Phenomenological Interview and Hermeneutic Techniques of Interpretation
Notes
References
Acknowledgments
Index