Chapter

The Experience of the Anointing

Ralph W. Hood Jr. and W. Paul Williamson

in Them That Believe

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780520231474
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942714 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520231474.003.0009
The Experience of the Anointing

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This chapter describes the actual experience of handling serpents and the experience of the anointing. Anointing, like tongues speaking, may be linked to trance states. However, “trance” does little to describe the experience of anointing, a central experience in serpent-handling churches. Anointing is a common experience among Pentecostals, whether or not they handle serpents. In the existing research literature, there is little that deals specifically with the anointing experienced among Pentecostals—let alone serpent-handling churches. With Pentecostals in general, the phenomenon of anointing emerges largely as an embodied event. The anointing was experienced in church services that also included intense praying, singing, shouting, dancing, and preaching, all of which express the emotional aspects of Holiness-Pentecostal worship that are integral to the faith. The phenomenon of anointing is described as emerging as a particular awareness of the body that served to contextualize the way in which the person directly experiences God. Serpent handlers, like many other Holiness-Pentecostal believers who do not handle, all share a faith that is “better felt than told.”

Keywords: anointing; experience; serpent handling; trance; Holiness-Pentecostal worship

Chapter.  5154 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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