snake handlers

(redirected from Serpent Handlers)

snake handlers

A movement of loosely organised fundamentalist Pentecostal churches, ministers and itinerant preachers, who handle poisonous snakes as part of their weekly ritual and sermons. Snake handling is a ritual based on an interpretation of Mark 16:17-20 and Luke 10:19 in the Bible. George Went Hensley (born circa 1880) began the practice in 1908, and is commonly considered the "father of contemporary serpent handling"; he died in 1955 from a snake bite.

There are between 1000 and 2000 snake handler church members, including those who do not handle snakes. The practice is controversial in that it pits the US First Amendment freedoms of religious expression against the states’ interest in protecting the safety of snake handlers’ minor children and other non-participants, potentially triggering felony charges against participants.
References in periodicals archive ?
Considering first scientific and secular perspectives then sacred perspectives, they examine such topics as neuropsychological and personalogical aspects of spirituality, calling counselors: a novel calling intervention for career development and well-being, the normalcy of the paranormal: numinous experiences throughout the life span, the contemporary serpent handlers of Appalachia and their experience of being called by God, and mystical experience and religious calling.
Studies of the contemporary serpent handlers of Appalachia have focused upon descriptions of a practice that is more maligned than understood.
In this paper, we integrate material from a variety of sources to explore how serpent handlers find meaning in a ritual that is puzzling, if not disturbing, to those outside the tradition.
Experimental and empirical research using this intratextual approach is ongoing, but in this paper, we are concerned with a case study in which the intratextual model is useful for understanding how serpent handlers, as fundamentalists, resolve problems arising from intertextual disputes with scholars concerning the longer ending of Mark, as well as with others outside their religious tradition in defending the practice of their faith.
Serpent handlers use this verse to affirm that Jesus and the apostles handled serpents.
Williamson said he has documented 91 snake bite deaths among serpent handlers since 1919; Between 350 and 400 people die from snake bites in the U.
Journalist Fred Brown earned their trust through longstanding respect, and offers The Serpent Handlers as a counterbalance.
Both Glenn and his second wife are believing serpent handlers, but Glenn is convicted of forcing his wife to be bit on two occasions, without the protecting anointing of the Holy Spirit.
If serpent handlers in general and Glenn in particular are larger than fiction, then perhaps their stories are largely fictionalized.
It's a six-parter which took Ruby across America to track down a collection of eccentrics, including three female wrestlers and a group of serpent handlers who perform in front of a church congregation.
The serpent handlers were my favourite," says Ruby, laughing.
Yes, Bill Leonard's book does have a good chapter on serpent handlers, written by Mary Lee Daugherty.