a modern FORM of SPIRITISM dating from 1848, when two teen-age sisters, Margaretta and Katie Fox, of Hydesville, New York, reported "rappings" in their home. They interpreted these noises as messages from a peddler who had died in the house. Enthusiasm for spiritualism swept the North America spreading to Europe and Latin America. The teachings of SWEDENBORG and bitter rivalry between competing CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS and a growing awareness of the problems of BIBLICAL CRITICISM, as presented by FREE THINKERS like BRADLAUGH and PAINE, may be seen as a contributing factor to the growth of the spiritualist movement. After rapid growth in the 1850s, when by some estimates something like 75% of Americans visited spiritualists, enthusiasm declined. Spiritualist ideas have had an influence far greater than the number of committed spiritualists would suggest making an important contribution to the growth of NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS. In places like Brazil, spiritualism has encouraged the growth of SYNCRATISM between ROMAN CATHOLIC, TRADITIONAL AFRICAN and Native American religious TRADITIONS.

Concise dictionary of Religion. 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • spiritualism — 1796, “advocacy of a spiritual view,” from SPIRITUAL (Cf. spiritual) + ISM (Cf. ism). Table rapping sense is from 1853 …   Etymology dictionary

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