TEXT.CRITICISM.1310

TEXT.CRITICISM.1310 - Whats Worse than Snakes on a Plane?...

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What’s Worse than Snakes on a Plane?
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Or the snake of “He Who Must not be Named”?
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“Snakes in a Church”! The Contemporary Relevance of Textual Criticism
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In 1992, Dennis Covington, a freelance journalist and professor of creative writing, was covering a trial in the northern Alabama town of Scottsboro for the New York Times, where a man named Glendel Buford Summerford stood accused of attempted murder. Summerford was the pastor of the Church of Jesus with Signs Following. In a drunken rage, he'd tried to kill his wife by forcing her to stick her hand into a cage full of snakes. Darlene Summerford lived and her former husband is now serving 99 years in the state penitentiary. After the trial, Covington was invited to a service being given by another congregation of snake handlers on Sand Mountain near a town called Section. Not a particularly religious man, his interest, as he tells it, was still largely journalistic.
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Plenty of the faithful get bitten. Most everyone involved has a relative who's died of snakebite. And at least seventy-one people, Covington reports, have been killed over the years during religious services where venomous snakes were handled. Nonetheless, he goes all the way after getting some "solid advice" from Charles McGlockin: "You might be anointed when you take up a serpent," he cautions Covington, "but if there's a witchcraft spirit in the church, it could zap your anointing and you'd be left cold turkey with a serpent in your hand and the spirit of God gone off of you. That's when you'll get bit. . . . Always be careful who you take a rattlesnake from." Right. Not long after that warning, Covington's moment came. . . .
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Now a Video clip (those of you weak at heart might want to close your eyes!)
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“Serpent handlers may be very, very weird, but they're not crazy," said Leonard, who is dean of the Divinity School at Wake Forest in Winston- Salem, N.C. . . . Millions of Americans say the Bible contains no errors of any kind. "Amen," say the snake handlers. Others complain that too many people view the Bible through the lens of safe, middle- class conformity and miss its radical message. Snake handlers agree. “What if every time you went to church you knew it could kill you? That would pick up the old Sunday service a bit, wouldn't it?” he said. “For these folks, taking up serpents is a kind of sacrament that helps them face life-and-death issues. But if this sacrament brings life, it also can bring death. . .. It becomes the ultimate religious ritual, the ultimate religious experience.” . . .
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course REL 1310 taught by Professor Holleyman during the Fall '08 term at Baylor.

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TEXT.CRITICISM.1310 - Whats Worse than Snakes on a Plane?...

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