“Science, Religion, and the Rhetoric of Revelation: The Case of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship”
Stob, Paul. “Science, Religion, and the Rhetoric of Revelation: The Case of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship.” Journal of Communication & Religion 39, no. 1 (2016): 46–64.
Stob is interested in the rhetoric used by early Christian Science lecturers to convince the public that Christian Science was worth investigating. Christian Science lecturers were active during the American Progressive Era, a time when rapid professionalization and growth of specialized knowledge, especially in science and medicine, displaced and alienated ordinary people. For instance, physicians replaced midwives, and childbirth became a male-dominated medical function. Eddy’s lecturers delivered messages that united religion, science, and medicine in a way that required no advanced learning. There were no barriers to common folk gaining insights, based on their Bibles and Eddy’s leading, that brought together revelation and reason, religion and science, and returned control to their lives. “The very people who had been displaced by the culture of professionalism could reclaim a central role in the project of knowing the world.” (59). Stob reviewed the texts of these early lectures and also testimonies from those who attended lectures. He concluded that these lectures effectively used novel language that “…expands the parameters of revelatory discourse. By creating a space for the partici-pation by ordinary Americans, Eddy and her lecturers moved divine revelation from an other-worldly mystery into a framework for individual agency…” (61).
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