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Spirit Cure

Joseph W. Williams

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199765676
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199315871 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199765676.001.0001
Spirit Cure

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This book tells the story of pentecostals' changing healing practices in the United States since the early 1900s. While early believers' attracted attention due to their widespread rejection of mainstream medicine and their overt spiritualization of disease and its cure, later generations of pentecostals and their charismatic successors made significant modifications to the healing paradigms that they inherited. Claims of dramatic divine intervention never disappeared, yet strident denunciations of the medical profession often gave way to “natural” healing methods associated with scientific medicine, natural substances, and to a certain degree psychology. As evidence of the success of adherents' retooled approaches to healing, by the turn of the twenty-first century figures such as the pentecostal preacher T. D. Jakes appeared on the Dr. Phil Show, other healers marketed their books at mainstream retailers such as Wal-Mart, and some developed lucrative nutritional products that sold online and in health food stores across the nation. By chronicling adherents' embrace of competitors' healing practices, including alternative healing methodologies rooted in a “metaphysical” tradition in American religion, the book illuminates pentecostals' dramatic transition from a despised minority to major players in the world of American evangelicalism and mainstream American culture. In exploring the interconnections, resonances, as well as continued points of tension that that existed throughout the movement's history between adherents and some of their fiercest rivals, the book also reveals how even the earliest pentecostals never were quite as distinct from their competitors in the American healing marketplace as it may have first appeared.

Keywords: pentecostalism; evangelicalism; religious healing; alternative medicine; natural healing; United States; metaphysical tradition; spiritualization

Book.  240 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Christianity

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Spirit Cure

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Midcentury Transitions in Spirit Cure

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Making Medicine Spiritual in Spirit Cure

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Minding the Spirit in Spirit Cure

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Perfect Bodies, Plentiful Profits in Spirit Cure

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Conclusion in Spirit Cure

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Epilogue in Spirit Cure

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