“Healing Theologies in Christian Science and Secret Revelation of John: A Critical Conversation in Practical Theology”
Paulson, Shirley. “Healing Theologies in Christian Science and Secret Revelation of John: A Critical Conversation in Practical Theology.” PhD Dissertation, University of Birmingham, 2017.
The structure of this dissertation is a critical theological conversation between Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health and the 2nd-century Christian text, the Secret Revelation of John. It uses methodology from Practical Theology to highlight epistemological contrasts and similarities between the two texts and between their worldviews and orthodox worldviews. The themes come from the main components of both texts: 1) the goodness and omnipotence of God; 2) the fraudulent, counterfeit nature of evil; 3) the meaning of salvation as rescue from all forms of human suffering during and after the human experience. Paulson identifies these three themes as the theological foundation for healing practices in the context of the 2nd century for the Secret Revelation of John and in a contemporary context for Science and Health. She argues that so-called ‘gnostic’ arguments against both texts are invalid, because such notions as docetism and dualism mis-characterize and over-simplify the theological positions of both. The study includes comparisons between ancient beliefs in demons and Eddy’s view of animal magnetism. Also, social contexts comparing ancient Roman oppression and 19th-century Puritanism, as well as etiological beliefs in both centuries provide insightful contrasts within the commonalities of the three basic themes.