“Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910)” in Makers of Christian Theology in America
Porterfield, Amanda. “Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910).” Pages 301-07 in Makers of Christian Theology in America. Edited by Mark G. Toulouse and James O. Duke. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1997.
This essay on Mary Baker Eddy’s theological contributions is positioned in the context of the book’s study of the still-unfolding history of Christian theology in America. During the late nineteenth century, the study of the Bible had become the new frontline in “the ‘warfare’ between science and religion” (248). Eddy’s radically idealistic form of Christianity was based on her view that the New Testament revealed Christ as Love which triumphed over evil, death, and the illusion of material reality. Eddy’s theological treatise, Science and Health, distanced “itself from literal interpretations of the Bible” and “interprets central elements of Christianity in terms of mental experience” (303). It distinguishes itself from spiritualism, “contrasting the explanatory power of Christian Science with spiritualism’s appeal to mysterious phenomena” (303). Porterfield argues that “some critics have missed both the coherence of Eddy’s thought and the depth of her commitment to Christianity, and dismissed her writings as illogical effusions of an infirm, hysterical woman. … But her theology is actually quite coherent and more fairly understood as a remarkably creative if unschooled form of American Protestant thought” (305). Eddy’s idealistic interpretation of the New Testament fused scientific and literary criticism of the Bible more easily than many of her contemporaries.
See also annotation:
Annotations related by category:
- Availability: Library or Purchase
- Controversy: Bliss Knapp’s "Destiny"
- Controversy: Quimby-Eddy Debate
- Controversy: Theological Controversies
- Official Christian Science Publication: No
- Organizations: Massachusetts Metaphysical College
- Organizations: The First Church of Christ, Scientist
- People: Eddy, Mary Baker
- People: Mesmer, Franz
- People: Quimby, Phineas
- Publication Date: 1981-2000
- Resource Types: Book Section
- Subjects: Bible
- Subjects: Ecumenical and Interfaith
- Subjects: Metaphysical
- Subjects: Science and Health Book
- Subjects: Theology