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By R. Marie Griffith

While you're drawn to a scholarly method of Christian health, this is often the simplest ebook available in the market.

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Additional info for Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity (California Studies in Food and Culture, 12)

Example text

31 Miller’s sermons surely suggest the extent to which fasting had already fallen into disuse, at least among the educated Protestants of Miller’s circle. Yet whereas few of his colleagues may have been concerned by the decline of what was perceived as a primitive, superstitious asceticism now associated with Methodist excesses, for Miller the shift was an ominous one. 32 It had not been so long ago that fasting had been central to Presbyterian devotion, not only prior to the sacramental occasions noted earlier but also in ordinary, private life.

16 In both England and America, ministers and doctors also regularly prescribed fasting as therapy for melancholy and all types of madness. Michael MacDonald, following Keith Thomas, has argued that the abandonment of Catholic methods of mental healing, especially exorcism, compelled Protestants to develop their own methods for curing sick souls. Puritan clerics were especially eager to engage in healing regimens, and they held therapeutic fasts for the insane as well as those possessed by demons.

My food is assimilating properly, all waste is being carried off and I am growing better in every way”—represents one of the most unshakable themes running through American diet culture. This methodic hopefulness has, moreover, blended well with scattered appropriations of medical science: thinking away the fat, Americans well know, has never precluded calorie counting, gym workouts, or even more drastic procedures such as surgery. 21 One of the many interesting developments to emerge in relation to New Thought at the turn of the century was the health craze of fasting, a practice that was promoted as a means of masculine accomplishment and rejuvenation but that also correlated usefully with other concerns of the time, from worries over immigration, race, and eugenics to the efficiency doctrine promoted in relation to business, homemaking, and the burgeoning market economy.

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