Christian Science on Trial: Religious Healing in America
Schoepflin, Rennie B. Christian Science on Trial: Religious Healing in America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.
Based largely on Schoepflin’s 1995 doctoral thesis, this book contains a detailed analysis of the late 19th-century legislative and legal confrontations between Christian Scientists and the medical community. Its content reveals a relationship of complexity and convergence that had evolved between spiritual healing by Eddy’s immediate followers and medical practice a century ago. Although his detailed research focuses on 19th-century cases of children’s deaths, Schoepflin also argues that the late 20th-century American revival of religious healing “bears an uncanny resemblance to the emergence” (2) of the mind/religious healing of a century earlier. Just as reviewed in his doctoral dissertation, his insightful introduction demonstrates the shifting relationship between medical practitioners, Christian Science practitioners, and the public. From medical licensing, the meaning of medical practice, and the rights of Americans to therapeutic choice, the public debate turned to matters of contagious disease, public safety and children’s rights. A resurgence of interest in the spiritual dimensions of human health gave reason again in the last part of the 20th century “to believe that the apparent public hegemony of medical science over religion might be weakened, if not broken. And Christian Scientists, with their clarion call for spiritual healing in a materialistic age, found themselves once again at center stage” (5).
ISBN-13 (Hardcover): 978-0801870576
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