Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860–1900

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JHU Press, Oct 29, 2007 - History - 269 pages
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Faith in the Great Physician tells the story of how participants in the evangelical divine healing movement of the late nineteenth century transformed the ways Americans coped with physical affliction and pursued bodily health. Examining the politics of sickness, health, and healing during this period, Heather D. Curtis encourages critical reflection on the theological, cultural, and social forces that come into play when one questions the purpose of suffering and the possibility of healing.

Curtis finds that advocates of divine healing worked to revise a deep-seated Christian ethic that linked physical suffering with spiritual holiness. By engaging in devotional disciplines and participating in social reform efforts, proponents of faith cure embraced a model of spiritual experience that endorsed active service, rather than passive endurance, as the proper Christian response to illness and pain.

Emphasizing the centrality of religious practices to the enterprise of divine healing, Curtis sheds light on the relationship among Christian faith, medical science, and the changing meanings of suffering and healing in American culture.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Pain Illness and Religion in MidNineteenthCentury America
26
The Rise of Religious Healing in the Late Nineteenth Century
51
The Devotional Ethics and Gendered Dynamics of Divine Healing
81
Divine Healing as Devotional Practice
109
Sacred Space Social Geography and Gender in Divine Healing
139
Divine Healing and Social Reform
167
Conclusion
192
Notes
211
Bibliography
241
Index
261
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About the author (2007)

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

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