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Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900 (Lived Religions) Hardcover – October 29, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0801886867 ISBN-10: 0801886864 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Lived Religions
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; 1 edition (October 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801886864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801886867
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #627,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Heather Curtis has done both the historical guild and the church a great favor in so elegantly narrating the history of a movement that challenged long-standing assumptions about the spiritual utility of corporal pain—and, in so doing, remapped our imaginations and transformed our understanding of suffering.

(Lauren F. Winner Books and Culture: A Christian Review)

Students of American religious history and American culture will find this work worthy of attention.

(Choice)

An illuminating and exceedingly careful examination of a historical terrain chock-full of landmines... Its careful attention to the experiences of both laity and elites is as strong as its evenhanded interpretation.

(Mark A. Noll Christian Century)

Fascinating story told by Heather D. Curtis.

(Rennie B. Schoepflin Journal of American History)

Thoughtfully rendered study.

(Paul Harvey American Studies)

Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860–1900 is an engaging and informative analysis of the divine healing movement, grounded in a wide-ranging view of its social and cultural, medical and religious milieu... Heather Curtis is to be commended for this splendid contribution to the scholarship of the era.

(Nancy A. Hardesty Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era)

Lyrical and convincing.

(Pamela E. Klassen Church History)

Careful historical research that scholars of American religion and American history will find indispensable.

(Lynn S. Neal Journal of Religion)

A fascinating account.

(James Benedict Brethren Life and Thought)

About the Author

Heather D. Curtis is an assistant professor of the history of Christianity and American religion at Tufts University.


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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This essential study documents and analyzes the concerns, beliefs and practices of key participants in the evangelical "faith cure" or "divine healing" movement which flourished during the second half of the 19th century. It warrants a permanent place alongside such relevant works as Nancy Hardesty's Faith Cure: Divine Healing in the Holiness and Pentecostal Movements (2003), James W. Opp's The Lord for the Body: Religion, Medicine, and Protestant Faith Healing in Canada, 1880 - 1930 (2005), and Robert Bruce Mullin's Miracles and the Modern Religious Imagination (1996), among others, and utilizes them in the study. Ms. Curtis has set a new standard of scholarship for analyzing this important movement and her seminal book deserves recognition and a wide readership.

Jesus Christ is considered "the great physician" in the book's title which emphasizes faith in Christ as the divine healer. Although "divine healing" is used in the book's subtitle, the author makes it clear in footnote #6 to the introduction that throughout the book, she uses the phrases "divine healing," "faith cure," and "faith healing" interchangeably. She notes that some historians consider "faith cure" a derogatory label used by critics of the movement, but as she points out, both Charles Cullis and Sarah Mix - advocates of faith cure - used this designation in the titles of their published collections of answered prayer narratives. She further notes, however, that as the movement came under increasing attack in the mid to late 1880s, some advocates like A. B. Simpson preferred the phrase "divine healing" as more appropriate, especially as a way of distinguishing the evangelical movement from other healing movements of the period such as mesmerism, Spiritualism, Christian Science, and New Thought.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Andersen on March 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In Faith in the Great Physician, Heather Curtis offered a "retrospective ethnography" that narrated the stories of evangelical Christians who participated in and led the divine healing movement in the United States from 1860 to 1900. Through her use of narratives and articles from periodicals of the movement, Curtis situated the burgeoning movement in its historical and theological context, described its devotional ethics, and detailed how its theology and practice challenged the "longstanding link between corporeal suffering and spiritual holiness."

Curtis argued that the divine healing movement, centered on a belief that "God willeth the health of his people and not their hurt," effectively overturned the belief in suffering as a divinely appointed means of sanctification that previously dominated American culture. This drastic change was possible due to the new ways of viewing God's sovereignty that proponents of the movement proposed and the practices - confession, fasting, prayer, testimony, laying on of hands, anointing with oil, and fellowship with likeminded believers - that they embodied. These proponents consisted of adherents from a wide range of beliefs and locations. Curtis argued further that even as such diversity enabled the movement to expand rapidly, diversity also led to the movement's breakdown as questions regarding medicine, the role of women, and theology divided people who were previously united on one grand truth.

Curtis presented her topic and arguments in compelling ways that continually engaged me. Her use of a select number of personal narratives served as a great way to ground the book in history, paint complex pictures of the movement's diversity, and introduce the new facets of the movement she sought to explore in each chapter. Seeing that she is a young scholar, I look forward to reading her work in the future and I hope that her clear writing style continues.
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