laying on of hands

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laying on of hands (plural layings on of hands)

  1. (religion, chiefly Christianity) The practice of using touch to communicate spiritual energy from one person to another, especially as an act of healing and (Christianity) the charism whereby new bishops are initiated into the apostolic succession.
    • 1611, King James Version of the Holy Bible, Acts 18:
      And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money.
    • 1865 April 2, "From the West," New York Times (retrieved 25 Jan 2013):
      He holds daily levees, which are crowded, at Metropolitan Hall, where he proclaims that he has been sent of God to heal diseases by the touch. Many are fools enough to try the experiment . . . . His formula is, "Disease, depart," accompanied with a laying on of hands.
    • 1915, Jack London, The Jacket (The Star-Rover), ch. 17:
      They cast out devils by magic charms, cured diseases by the laying on of hands, drank deadly poisons unharmed, and unharmed played with deadly snakes—or so they claimed.
    • 1922, Upton Sinclair, They Call Me Carpenter: A Tale of the Second Coming, ch. 35:
      This monstrous parody of divine compassion . . . performs, in the presence of moving picture cameras, a grotesque parody upon the laying on of hands and the healing of the sick.
    • 2001 June 24, Leon Jaroff, "Fighting Against Flimflam," Time:
      Popoff would race around an auditorium, striding up to dozens of people he had never met, greeting them by name, reciting their addresses, diagnosing their illnesses and then pretending to heal them with a laying on of hands.

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