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Faith Healing

faith healing, relief or cure of bodily ills through some religious attitude on the part of the sufferer. In the Jewish and Christian traditions prayers for cures and miracles are usual; thus the apostles developed a ritual of healing (James 5.14–16; see also miracle). In the Catholic churches healing has centered about the sacraments of the Eucharist and anointing of the sick and around shrines (e.g., Lourdes and Sainte Anne de Beaupré) and relics. Since 1800 there have appeared a number of Protestant faith-healing groups, e.g., that of John Alexander Dowie, the Emmanuel movement, and the Peculiar People. The followers of Christian Science, approaching the problem differently, do not consider their system one of faith healing. They consider humans as Godlike and therefore not subject to material ills. Faith healing is of interest in the fields of psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy.

See M. T. Kelsey, Healing and Christianity (1973); S. Leek, The Story of Faith Healing (1973); D. E. Harrell, Jr., All Things are Possible (1976); J. Randi, The Faith Healers (1988).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Healing
Candy Gunther Brown.
Oxford University Press, 2011
Foul Demons, Come Out! The Rhetoric of Twentieth-Century American Faith Healing
Stephen J. Pullum.
Praeger Publishers, 1999
When Prayer Fails: Faith Healing, Children, and the Law
Shawn Francis Peters.
Oxford University Press, 2007
Looking for a Miracle: Weeping Icons, Relics, Stigmata, Visions & Healing Cures
Joe Nickell.
Prometheus Books, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Includes "How Faith Healing 'Cures'"
Shamanism: Traditional and Contemporary Approaches to the Mastery of Spirits and Healing
Merete Demant Jakobsen.
Berghahn Books, 1999
Justification by Faith
Schneider, Carl E.
The Hastings Center Report, Vol. 29, No. 1, January 1999
Shamanism: The Neural Ecology of Consciousness and Healing
Michael Winkelman.
Bergin & Garvey, 2000
Odd Gods: New Religions and the Cult Controversy
James R. Lewis.
Prometheus Books, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 16 "Christian Science and the New Thought Tradition"
Wondrous Events: Foundations of Religious Belief
James McClenon.
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of faith healing in multiple chapters
The Medicine Men: Oglala Sioux Ceremony and Healing
Thomas H. Lewis.
University of Nebraska Press, 1992
Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of Magical Thinking
Leonard Zusne; Warren H. Jones.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1989 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Miraculous Healing" begins on p. 34
Cults: Faith, Healing, and Coercion
Marc Galanter.
Oxford University Press, 1990
The Resilient Spirit: Transforming Suffering into Insight and Renewal
Polly Young-Eisendrath.
Perseus Books, 1996
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