“Eschatological Vacillation in Mary Baker Eddy’s Presentation of Christian Science”
Simmons, John K. “Eschatological Vacillation in Mary Baker Eddy’s Presentation of Christian Science.” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 7, no. 3 (2004): 63–80.
Simmons defines such terms as ‘eschatology,’ ‘apocalypticism’ and ‘ethics’ in light of the besieged life of Mary Baker Eddy as well as in her writings. According to Simmons, in Eddy’s thinking, eschatology is understood in its original sense of an unveiling—in this case a two-fold, sometimes conflicting, dynamic of unveiling: an earth-shattering “disintegration of the ego” (75)—what Simmons calls ‘catastrophic apocalypticism;’ and the journey of progressive unfoldment—what Simmons calls ‘progressive apocalypticism.’ Both of these can bring about authentic transformation, and revelation of all good, harmonious spiritual reality—what Simmons calls ‘ethical eschatology.’ This double unveiling represents the “poles on an inner-eschaton continuum between catastrophic and progressive apocalypticism” (70)—between what Eddy called ‘malicious animal magnetism’ (a mesmeric evil “no-thing” (69) that tormented all that she tried to accomplish), and her embrace of the allness and oneness of divine reality. The question Simmons asks is how to find a good balance of the catastrophic and progressive “on the journey from apocalyptic to paradise” (77).
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