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Appalachian Pentecostal-Holiness serpent handling . Why?. Associated with low-income white protestants in the Appalachian mountains. There are three explanations for why this practice is followed Mark 16:17-18 Symbolizes socioeconomic issues

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Presentation Transcript
slide2
Why?
  • Associated with low-income white protestants in the Appalachian mountains.
  • There are three explanations for why this practice is followed
    • Mark 16:17-18
    • Symbolizes socioeconomic issues
    • The people of Appalachia reaching out against the people who have oppressed them
origins
Origins
  • Serpent Handling began to thrive shortly after the people of Appalachia lost the mineral rights that were within their land
  • George Went Hensley began handling snakes in his worship in Grasshopper Valley, Tennessee in the early 20th century
  • the verse within the bible that is asociated with snake handling is Mark 16:17-18 and it states.
    • these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
mark 16 17 18
Mark 16:17-18
  • Picking up snakes is a demonstration of the power of ones faith in god.
  • This definition of why it is done can also be linked with the bible verse Luke: 10:19 which states
    • Look! I have given you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to destroy all the enemy's power, and nothing will ever hurt you.
  • Scolars state in the simplest terms that the people of Appalachia handle these snakes because the bible tells them to do so.
why only in appalachia
Why only in Appalachia?
  • Pentecostal-Holiness Christians believe that all five signs in Mark 16:17-18
  • These signs are
    • Cast out devils
    • Speak in new tongues
    • handle serpents
    • Drink poison
    • Heal the sick
  • Not all Pentecostals practice all five signs within the mark verse and since the people of Appalachia are the only ones who do they must abide by each of the five signs and practice them accordingly
  • The socioeconomic issue that is attributed to the handling of snakes is the devil arriving in the mountains and brought corrupt capitalism.
  • The devil is associated with the serpent in many religions so it was only necessary for George Went Hensley to choose a serpent to be part of his sermons
why appalachia cont
Why Appalachia cont.
  • The handling of snakes is such a unique dangerous and strange phenomenon within the pen costal church that it is not a ritual that will be stolen by anyone else. Throughout history so much has been stolen from the Appalachian people that it make sense that they would practice something that is so unique and strange that it would not be taken from them. It is a way to reach out against those who have oppressed them in the past.
sources
Sources
  • Tidball, Keith G., and Chris Toumey. "Serpents, Sainthood, and Celebrity: Symbolic and Ritual Tension in Appalachian Pentecostal Snake Handling." Journal of Religion and Popular Culture (2007). Acedemic Onefile. 2007. 11 Mar. 2009
  • "Snake handling." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 11 Mar 2009, 02:30 UTC. 11 Mar 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Snake_handling&oldid=276429609>.
  • Link to snake handling service video
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObhvOeNCKhs