The City on a Beach: Future Prospects for Charismatic Movements at the End of the Twentieth Century

  • Martyn Percy


Joseph Bell is often remembered for being the doctor and surgeon who inspired Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle was a student of Bell’s at the Edinburgh Medical School in the mid-nineteenth century, at a time when the city’s medicine led the world. What especially impressed Doyle about Bell was his eye for detail. His reputation as a medical ‘sleuth’ was legendary. By looking at a man’s walk, he could reputedly say which regiment he had served in. When examining a woman, he could often say where she lived and worked, her accent and the ‘factory smells’ on her clothes being the principal indicators. His powers of deduction, all based on acute sensory perception, were put to work in an age that knew nothing of DNA testing, X-rays or tissue analysis. Of course, Bell’s deductions worked because the populace of Edinburgh was essentially settled: districts were specialized and identifiable units of socio-economic development. The way someone walked or talked was quite likely to tell you something about the person’s class, origin, employment — and maybe their health too. Bell’s deductive powers rested on taking many things for granted, making premises, and assuming a priori knowledge.


Future Prospect Religious Experience Theological Issue Charismatic Movement Sacred Canopy 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1997

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  • Martyn Percy

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