“Christian Science and the Puritan Tradition”
Johnsen, Thomas C. “Christian Science and the Puritan Tradition.” PhD Dissertation, Johns Hopkins University, 1983.
It was a profoundly shifting Puritan tradition which infused the 19th-century “New England mind” (4) and was the religious milieu out of which Christian Science emerged. Johnsen claims that it was not mind cure, or Phineas P. Quimby (evaluated in detail) that influenced Mary Baker Eddy the most. Rather he demonstrates how Eddy, with her Congregational background in tow, “carried forward certain essential dimensions of [Jonathan] Edwardsian thought and piety” (14). For example, Christian Science healing was understood not as an extension of mind-cure or Quimby, “but a phase of evangelical new birth” (13), comparable to the Protestant experience of grace (15). Johnsen analyzes the historical and theological continuities and discontinuities between Eddy and Edwards, focusing mainly on their complementary ideas about God, Christ, the Trinity, prayer, healing, the nature of reality, the need for spiritual sense to understand scripture, the relation of reason and revelation, and the “religious affections”—the “reorientation of the affections from self to God” (92). Finally, Johnsen explains the antipathy of Mark Twain toward Eddy, as “a useful touchstone for summarizing the [Christian Science] movement’s relation to a changing Protestant religious culture” (16) as it, like Twain, grappled with “the meaning of God in a world torn by inexplicable evil” (324).
Annotations related by category:
- Availability: Online - Academic Credentials or Fee
- Controversy: Theological Controversies
- Official Christian Science Publication: No
- People: Edwards, Jonathan
- People: Quimby, Phineas
- People: Twain, Mark
- Publication Date: 1981-2000
- Resource Types: Dissertations and Theses
- Subjects: Healing and Health
- Subjects: Metaphysical
- Subjects: Theology