Perfect Bodies, Plentiful Profits

Joseph W. Williams

in Spirit Cure

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199765676
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199315871 | DOI:
Perfect Bodies, Plentiful Profits

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This chapter examines pentecostals' and charismatics' participation since the 1970s in a widespread U.S. diet culture and their increasing commodification of divine healing. Whereas believers' fascination with the interconnections among diet, health, and physical perfection initially manifested most clearly in the writings of weight-loss gurus in the pentecostal-charismatic movement, by the 1980s and especially the 1990s, more and more professional healers had emerged who zeroed in on the importance of a natural diet for both health and healing. Key figures spurring this transition included Maureen Salaman, Reginald Cherry, Don Colbert, and Jordan Rubin. Their writings, which often promoted forms of healing closely tied to naturopathic medicine, sought to establish biblical justifications not only for specific diets but also for a wide range of alternative healing methodologies. The chapter concludes with discussion of the commodification of divine healing. In making the healing process more predictable, healers at the turn of the twenty-first century learned that they could make the healing process profitable as well.

Keywords: pentecostals; charismatic movement; diet culture; alternative healing; Maureen Salaman; Don Colbert; Jordan Rubin; physical perfection; naturopathic medicine

Chapter.  15697 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Christianity

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