Music among Serpent-Handling Churches

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:
Music among Serpent-Handling Churches

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This chapter describes music as a crucial part of worship in the serpent-handling tradition. It presents research on the types and meanings of songs that are popular among the serpent-handling churches. The serpent-handling churches share with the larger, mainstream Pentecostal denominations the use of music as an essential component in worship. At a typical serpent-handling meeting, it is most likely that instrumentals and singing will provide a prelude to the service as members enter the church and fellowship with one another. The importance of music is such that services rarely begin “on time” but usually whenever the musical prelude happens to end or, more often, as it swells and rises to a level that elicits participation from congregants to join in with singing.

Keywords: music; Pentecostal denominations; serpent handling; serpent-handling churches; worship

Chapter.  9444 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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