Our New Religion: An Examination of Christian Science
Fisher, H.A.L. Our New Religion: An Examination of Christian Science. New York: Jonathan Cape & Harrison Smith, 1930.
Fisher is an engaging storyteller and gives an account of Mary Baker Eddy’s life without a scrap of documentation linked to the details, anecdotes and quotations he shares. (He does list his primary and secondary sources, available in 1930, in the back of the book.) Chapter one, “The Prophetess,” is Eddy’s biography colorfully told and summed up by noting Eddy’s “superb confidence which made of her the most successful business boss whose brains have been employed in the exploitation of a creed” (81). Chapter two, “The Creed,” begins with Fisher describing Eddy’s textbook as “immaculately conceived” (134), adding: “There is no sense of logic, no capacity for the development of an argument. … Her wealth of repetition is such that it cannot fail to extort from the attentive reader a sentiment of bewildered and fatigued respect” (85–6). Fisher then elaborates on what he sees as the contradictions in Eddy’s theology, her clever combining of Christianity with science, and her successful placing of mind-cure doctrine in institutional dress (104–5). The final chapter, “The Church,” covers its humble and controversial beginnings, and its rapid burgeoning into a corporation legally bound in every way by an autocratic Eddy (136), and which remained so after her death.
ISBN-13 (Softcover): 978-1893107557
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