“Protest in Piety: Christian Science Revisited”
Fox, Margery. “Protest in Piety: Christian Science Revisited.” International Journal of Women’s Studies 1, no. 4 (1978): 401–17.
Fox, a social anthropologist, claims that Mary Baker Eddy and the early Christian Science movement functioned socially as a protest movement against 19th-century social assumptions and roles assigned to women. She sees this as a “latent function” because Christian Scientists did not recognize their own historical role (402). For example, hysteria was a typical women’s ailment, and the young Eddy was no exception. However, both Eddy, and the women who followed her, would find leadership and healing roles that were independent of the social, religious and medical authority of men. “The major Protestant churches would wait another 75 years to confer similar statuses on women” (412). Fox proposes that social dysfunction triggered women’s illnesses, which in turn became their way to gain freedom from traditional roles. Victimhood was an unconscious stance against the dominant sex; and the powerful role Eddy later embraced became a major contributor to her cure. Unfortunately, Fox’s 1978 research suffers from lack of access to Church archives (opened in 2002). She relies on hostile and dated biographers for Eddy’s childhood, her relationship with Phineas P. Quimby, and her mature years as leader.
See also annotations:
Annotations related by category:
- Availability: Online - Academic Credentials or Fee
- Controversy: Sex and Marriage
- Official Christian Science Publication: No
- People: Eddy, Mary Baker
- People: Quimby, Phineas
- Publication Date: 1956-1980
- Resource Types: Article
- Subjects: Feminist Perspectives
- Subjects: Healing and Health
- Subjects: Medicine
- Subjects: Social and Cultural Studies