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Taking Up Serpents: Snake Handlers of Eastern Kentucky
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Taking Up Serpents: Snake Handlers of Eastern Kentucky

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  19 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
The Holiness serpent handlers, who originated around 1910, are one of the most controversial religious groups in America. Their practice has brought them into conflict with authorities many times, and the often sensationalized media accounts of their services fascinate and horrify us. But as David Kimbrough so ably documents, snake handlers are sincere worshipers who hones ...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by University of North Carolina Press (first published January 1st 1995)
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Eric_W
Feb 10, 2013 Eric_W rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
I have always been fascinated by the more bizarre (to us) religious practices. What motivates people to do things outsiders would consider to be dangerous if not ridiculous? "This is my blood, this is my body," transubstantiation, drinking strychnine, burning oneself, I mean really. I'm sure non-Catholics regard Catholic doctrinal beliefs as a bizarre form of cannibalism when viewed from a different cultural perspective, so it behooves us to consider other religious practices with a certain amou ...more
David
Taking Up Serpents: Snake Handlers of Eastern Kentucky by David L. Kimbrough (University of North Carolina Press 1993)(289.9) is an interesting look into the beliefs and practices of a small band of Pentacostalists located mostly in the Southeastern U.S. This group, who bristles at the use of the word "cult" to describe them, originated in Kentucky and Tennessee in the 1930's. They claim spiritual and biblical authority arising principally from the Book of Mark in the New Testament: "Adopting a ...more
Richard
Feb 02, 2012 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew the author's cousin, who introduced David to the snake handlers in East Tennessee when David was working on a sociology thesis which ultimately resulted in this book. In the course of his research and writing David became a believer. Fascinating.
Anthony D Buckley
A good, sound, if fairly unremarkable study. I didn't get a clear idea of why snake handling was so important, or, more to the point, why these people but not everybody else, handled snakes. What made these people different?
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