In addition to providing an overview of the main arguments put forward in the book regarding pentecostals' and charismatics' healing practices in the United States, the introduction also contextualizes pentecostal healing practices in the early 1900s in relation to competing healing paradigms also available to Americans around the same time. The chapter outlines the basic contours of the divine healing movement among evangelicals in the late nineteenth century, as well as numerous alternative healing methodologies associated with everything from Christian Science to New Thought, homeopathy, and the health reform efforts of Sylvester Graham. Special attention is paid to the relationship between alternative healing paradigms and a broad-based metaphysical tradition in U.S. religion. The introduction also clarifies the author's use of key terms throughout the book, including “natural healing,” “holism,” “metaphysical religion,” and “therapeutic culture.”
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