“America’s Innovative Nineteenth-Century Religions” in The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: An Encyclopedia
Schoepflin, Rennie B. “America’s Innovative Nineteenth-Century Religions,” Pages 307–12 in The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: An Encyclopedia. Edited by Gary B. Ferngren, Edward J. Larson, and Darrel W. Amundsen. New York: Garland Publishing, 2000.
Schoepflin includes short sections on the Seventh-day Adventists, Mormons and Christian Scientists, seeing them as movements which used science as a “tool for apologetics” (311). “‘True’ science brought confirmation of their worldviews; science that disconfirmed their message became ‘false’ science” (311). Schoepflin claims that Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science “owed much to the principles of homeopathy and the practice of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby” (311). He shows how Eddy combined the tools of science (reason and empiricism—in the evidence of bodily healing) with “the spiritual and immaterial dimensions of Christianity” (311). He notes Eddy’s oppositional relationship with both orthodox Christianity and medicine, seeing this tension as a public contest for legality and authority sometimes fought out in the courts or legislatures. But throughout this encounter, Christian Scientists “revealed their ambiguous status as scientific practitioners and religious healers” (312). A broader range of sources now available through The Mary Baker Eddy Library would have helped shed more light on the origin and evolution of Eddy’s ideas.
ISBN-13 (Softcover): 978-1138867833
ISBN-13 (Hardcover): 978-0815316565
See also annotations: