“‘Israel’s Return to Zion’: Jewish Christian Scientists in the United States. 1880–1925”
Swensen, Rolf. “‘Israel’s Return to Zion’: Jewish Christian Scientists in the United States. 1880–1925.” Journal of Religion and Society (The Kripke Center) 15 (2013): 1–16.
As Christian Science took off in America in the 1880s, it found receptivity among Reformed Jews who had recently migrated to the U.S. from Europe, especially Germany where Reformed Judaism began. Although Mary Baker Eddy would “fall into the historic Christian pattern of deprecating Judaism as narrow and legalistic” (3), she was in agreement with Judaism’s supreme monotheism, and with the tenet that Jesus was not God but the Christ or Messiah available to all since the beginning of time. Eddy also taught a spiritual alternative to a man-like God, and that atonement was about individual reformation—Reformed Judaism highlighted a “hallowed concept of individuality” (2). Of primary interest, Christian Science promised health and spiritual sustenance. Swensen searched the Christian Science periodicals for healings by those with Jewish backgrounds and found 80 examples. As the numbers of converted Jews to Christian Science increased, some within Reformed Judaism took up a revival of their traditions in the form of Jewish Science—a way for Jews to “embrace Eddy’s metaphysics without renouncing the name ‘Jewish’” (4). Rabbi Morris Lichtenstein would publish Jewish Science and Health: Text Book of Jewish Science in 1925.