How constructions of the body, gender, and social space informed the cultural practice of Protestant faith healing in Canada.

In the early 1920s, English-Canadians were captivated by the urban campaigns of faith healing evangelists. Crowds squeezed into local arenas to witness the afflicted, "slain in the spirit," casting away braces and crutches. Professional faith healers, although denounced by critics as promoting mass hypnotism, gained notoriety and followers in their call for people to choose "the Lord for the Body."

In his innovative work, James Opp explores the cultural practice of Protestant faith healing in Canada from its Victorian roots as an informal network of women sharing testimonies to its culmination in the organized professional campaigns of the twentieth century. Framing the phenomenon of divine healing as a history of the body, Opp provides a unique window onto the intersection of religion and medicine.

From newspaper accounts to criminal proceedings, The Lord for the Body traces the reactions of ministers, doctors, and state authorities who denounced faith healing as dangerous to spiritual and physical health. Undaunted by such attacks, the faithful continued to seek healing through prayer, a practice that operated as a powerful devotional observance and a point of resistance to modern medicine.

Additional Metadata
Publisher McGill-Queen's University Press
ISBN 978-0-7735-2906-9
Opp, J. (2005). The Lord for the body religion, medicine and Protestant faith healing in Canada, 1880-1930. McGill-Queen's University Press.

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