“They shall take up serpents” is one of the signs indicated for believers in the New Testament’s sixteenth chapter of Mark.
Calling themselves “signs followers,” only a few churches interpret the words in Mark 16:17-8 literally, and the religion of snake-handling churches is relatively recent, dating only to 1910.
Fred Brown and Jeanne McDonald, husband and wife and both authors of numerous publications, collaborated to write a nonfiction book, “The Serpent Handlers: Three Families and Their Faith.” In the book, the authors discuss the faith and life that bind the beliefs of three prominent families in the serpent handling tradition.
Brown and McDonald will appear at the Blount County Public Library on Tuesday, July 15, at 7 p.m. to discuss their research and the writing of the book. They will also be available to sign and sell copies of their book. They also co-authored another nonfiction book, “Growing Up Southern.”
Fred Brown, a feature writer for the Knoxville News Sentinel, is a member of the Scripps Hall of Fame. Jeanne McDonald, the second President of the Knoxville Writers’ Guild, has published many articles in numerous magazines and anthologies. Her first novel was “Water Dreams.” She received the Tennessee Arts Commission/Alex Haley Fiction Fellowship and other awards including the Washington Prize for Fiction and a National Writers Association Prize.