“Emma Curtis Hopkins: A Feminist of the 1880s and Mother of New Thought”
Melton, J. Gordon. “Emma Curtis Hopkins: A Feminist of the 1880s and Mother of New Thought,” Pages 88–101 in Women’s Leadership in Marginal Religions: Explorations Outside the Mainstream. Edited by Catherine Wessinger. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993.
Because Emma Curtis Hopkins identified herself as an independent Christian Scientist, her successful establishment of her own religious following provides a valuable comparison with Eddy’s Christian Science. Melton briefly covers the historical record of Hopkins’s introduction to and commitment to Eddy. After a year of dedicated service, Hopkins broke with Eddy “on ideological and financial grounds” (91). Melton then compares their theologies and practices in more detail. Hopkins moved to Chicago and opened her own office “as an independent Christian Science practitioner” (91). Her successful debut in Chicago was followed quickly by internal disruption, primarily based on the status of her students and the propriety of their charging for their healing services. Concluding a mistaken image of Christian Science was at stake, she transformed her College (originally modeled after Eddy’s) into the ‘Christian Science Theological Seminary,’ emphasizing ministry rather than a healing trade. Although her theological teaching was quite similar to Mary Baker Eddy’s, Hopkins emphasized some aspects of it, such as her larger implications of God’s identity as Mother. But unlike her major competitors, Christian Science and theosophy, Hopkins “attempted to operate within the larger context of ecclesiastical Christianity” (93). She established the right for herself to ordain, thereby institutionalizing the new ministerial status for women.
ISBN-13 (Softcover): 978-0252063329
ISBN-13 (Hardcover): 978-0252020254