Utterances approximating words and speech that are nonetheless generally unintelligible, usually produced during states of trance or delirium. The religious interpretation of the phenomenon is that the speaker is possessed by a supernatural spirit, is in conversation with divine beings, or is the channel of a divine proclamation. Speaking in tongues occurred in ancient Greek religion and is mentioned in the New Testament. According to The Acts of the Apostles, it first occurred among followers of Jesus at Pentecost and reappeared wherever conversion to Christianity occurred. St. Paul claimed to have been adept at it but urged restraint in the practice. Today it is mainly associated with charismatic Protestant movements such as Pentecostalism.
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