Dr. Ralph Hood will discuss research of snake handling in Appalachia in the final presentation of Christian Roots, Where it Started and How it’s Going at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.
Dr. Hood, Jr. will explore “When the Spirit Maims and Kills” on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 6:30 p.m. at the church at 848 Ashland Terrace in Chattanooga. This event is free and open to the public.
“The contemporary serpent handlers of Appalachia are arguably one of the most Christian aligned and misunderstood Christian sects.
Rooted in holiness, fundamentalism, and Pentecostalism their persistence puzzles many who long predicted their obituary,” Hood said. “With years of study of these believers I will present persuasive reasons why the tradition survives, not because of their ‘bizarre’ beliefs but because of them. They merge the symbolic nature of the serpent with its literal sign value and in handling serpents confirm not only the Gospel of Mark but the reality of a triumph over secular death and the assurance of life everlasting.”
Dr. Hood, Jr. is professor of psychology professorship at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and UT Alumni Association Distinguished Service professor. He is a past president of division 36 of the American Psychological Association and a recipient of its William James award for research in the psychology of religion.
A short question and answer session will follow the lecture.
For more information, call 423-877-2428.