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'In my name, they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover.'(Gospel of Mark) It's the summer of 1955. Merle, an itinerant preacher, sets out from his home church, Mountain Assembly Church of God with Signs Following, situated in the rolling hills of the Appalachians. But Merle isn't just any preacher, and his message isn't any plain ol' sermon. Reverend Merle James Hensley has experienced the power of Jesus Christ firsthand. Delivered from a poisonous snakebite, Merle requested of the Lord a double portion of Elisha's double portion. And so begins his revival tour, with trials predicted to test his faith and prove his double portion. But in Bloody Harlan County, Kentucky, he faces a trial he never counted on. Merle lands in the county jail, charged with the death of a young man who died in one of his revival services . . . of a snakebite. The author's first novel,They Shall Take up Serpents, is based on his Christian H. Moe Award-winning play,To Handle the Serpent. Experience the drama of Merle's physical and spiritual journey as he faces the trial that will determine his fate. Is this brash preacher responsible for the young man's death? Or are there other forces at work?
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David Kimbrough explains the history and practice of serpent-handling believers from the pserspective of a respectful and scholarly participant-ovserver.
The humanities are the strongest dynamic that runs from the past into the future. Throughout history, except for the past one hundred fifty years, the strongest element in the humanities has been the culture of the folk. Now it is the everyday culture of a democratic society—popular culture, a key to people’s understanding themselves and their society. These sixteen essays by leading popular culture scholars demonstrate how elements in our everyday life flourished in the past, came to flower today, and will continue to shape us in the future.
Provides a look at serpent worship, examining its origins, beliefs, and rituals

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