“Preaching Without a Pulpit: Women’s Rhetorical Contributions to Scientific Christianity in America, 1880–1915.”
Scalise, Brandy. “Preaching Without a Pulpit: Women’s Rhetorical Contributions to Scientific Christianity in America, 1880–1915.” PhD Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 2011.
Scalise acknowledges the generous research fellowship she received from the Mary Baker Eddy Library while she wrote this dissertation. Making full use of the Library archives, she explored “the widespread public debate surrounding metaphysical healing in the late nineteenth-century…” (iii), especially through the study of rhetorical theories and practices of contemporaries, Mary Baker Eddy and Emma Curtis Hopkins. Both female metaphysical healers assumed the harmony of science and religion, thereby engaging both the Christian and liberal rhetorical traditions. Scalise argues they were both part of the “conciliatory project of liberal Christianity during the period, challenging the assumption that the rhetorical practices exhibited in the liberal and Christian traditions are inherently contradictory” (iii). ‘Liberal,’ she defines as “metaphysical rhetorics with aims distinct from evangelical rhetorics and traditional pulpit oratory” (iii). Scalise identifies three themes to characterize metaphysical healing as liberal discourse: social progress vs. individual enlightenment; reason vs. passionate belief; and professional authority vs. individual expression. Ironically, Scalise argues, both Eddy and Hopkins risked being dismissed as speakers since their arguments rested on liberal assumptions. Although Hopkins promoted religious discourse more radical than Eddy’s, both women suggest “that a liberal religious discourse held implications for nineteenth-century women that were contradictory, shifting, and undeniably complicated” (iv).
Annotations related by category:
- Availability: Online - Academic Credentials or Fee
- Official Christian Science Publication: No
- People: Eddy, Mary Baker
- People: Hopkins, Emma Curtis
- Publication Date: 2011-2020
- Resource Types: Dissertations and Theses
- Subjects: Feminist Perspectives
- Subjects: Healing and Health
- Subjects: Metaphysical
- Subjects: Social and Cultural Studies