“Eddy, Mary Baker” in Vol. 1 of The Encyclopedia of Religion
Gottschalk, Stephen. “Eddy, Mary Baker.” Pages 29–31 in vol. 1 of The Encyclopedia of Religion. Edited by Mircea Eliade and Charles Adams. 16 vols. New York: Macmillan. 1987.
Gottschalk notes that newer scholarship (of the late 1980s and prior to the opening of The Mary Baker Eddy Library), along with an increased interest in feminine spirituality, had begun to reassess Eddy’s work and character. New insights were beginning to move away from the persistence of one-sided negative or positive portrayals. Gottschalk illustrates some of these newer assessments of Mary Baker Eddy, due in large part to a recognition of the religious and personal influences on her life. For instance, he shows that even though Eddy was “unable to abandon her thoroughly ingrained belief in God’s sovereignty or the equally strong conviction of God’s goodness and love, she was to advance in Christian Science a radical interpretation of the gospel through a new concept of God’s relation to humanity” (30a). He also quotes one of Eddy’s strongest critics, H.A.L. Fisher, as an example of the complexities involved in analyzing Eddy’s character and achievements: “When we ask what was the inner source of her power, the answer can only be that it was religion. … The great ideas of God, of immortality, of the soul, of a life penetrated by Christianity, were never far from her mind” (Our New Religion, New York, 1930, 61).