Crossing Swords: Mary Baker Eddy vs. Victoria Woodhull and the Battle for the Soul of Marriage
Safronoff, Cindy Peyser. Crossing Swords: Mary Baker Eddy vs. Victoria Woodhull and the Battle for the Soul of Marriage. Seattle: This One Thing, 2015.
The book’s title comes from Mary Baker Eddy’s statement that Science and Health had ‘crossed swords with free-love’, when it cast the first stone in about 1875. Safronoff remarks that the free-love versus Science and Health struggle is relatively unknown because Eddy had removed most of these ‘battle scars’ from her final edits. This study is important, however, for an accurate understanding of Christian Science, because it depicts a crucial contextual identity for Eddy and her denomination’s birth in late 19th-century America. Spiritualists and Revivalists most easily embraced free-love and its materialistic, self-oriented viewpoints; but they were also frequently drawn to Christian Science, because of its radical departure from the patriarchal orthodox church of their time. Contemporary feminist scholarship will benefit from knowing this research on Eddy’s relation to the suffragist movement and why the chapter ‘Marriage’ is placed in an early, prominent position in Science and Health.
ISBN-13 (Softcover): 978-0986446108