“Mind, Medicine, and the Christian Science Controversy in Canada, 1888–1910”
Jasen, Patricia. “Mind, Medicine, and the Christian Science Controversy in Canada, 1888–1910.” Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue d’Attitudes Canadiennes 32 (Winter 1998): 5–22.
Jasen claims Christian Science provoked “controversy of wide significance in Canada” on subjects like the mind/body connection, faith and healing, and “the hegemony of the medical profession” (1). She begins with the historical and intellectual context of Christian Science, summarizing approaches to mind/matter/bodies and healing (mechanical vs. forces/agents/fluids/mind/Mind). She describes where and how Christian Science took hold in Canada and considers why Canadians were interested, such as “dissatisfaction with conventional therapeutics” (2) and “Christian orthodoxy” (4), the “rise in the feminist movement” (2), evangelical expectation of divine healing (4), and other “unconventional movements” (4). Ultimately, Jasen considers Christian Science to be part of “a long-standing alternative tradition well-entrenched along the fringes of Western medicine” (11). In documenting “The Critical Response” (7), Jasen quotes leading Canadian theologians defending orthodoxy and criticizing Mary Baker Eddy as an “undisciplined … vain woman” (8). She notes resistance by Canadian physicians, especially regarding Christian Science approaches to “hygiene, contagious disease, quarantine, vaccination, and the treatment of children” (9). However, because Christian Science effected cures of “marvellous character” it was hard to dismiss (9). Jasen concludes that Christian Science raised debate because it challenged the authority of “both physicians and clerics” and made them “consider issues that seldom intruded upon their separate spheres” (11).
Print ISSN: 0021-9495
Note: The page numbers noted above correspond to the pages in the online PDF version, not the actual Journal page numbers.
See also annotation:
“Mary Baker Eddy and the Nineteenth-Century ‘Public’ Woman: A Feminist Reappraisal” by Jean McDonald