“The Ambiguous Feminism of Mary Baker Eddy”
Lindley, Susan Hill. “The Ambiguous Feminism of Mary Baker Eddy.” The Journal of Religion 64, no. 3 (July 1984): 318–31.
Lindley finds Mary Baker Eddy’s ideas of feminism ambiguous, whether seen within the context of 19th-century American views of womanhood or compared to contemporary feminist theology. Lindley measures Eddy against contemporary feminist theologies in five ways:
1) For gender equality, Eddy elevated the interpretation of women in the Bible. She also embraced the radical demand for equality of men and women. However, she did not identify with the women’s movement, but set apart the nature of woman as having “superior moral sensitivity” (320).
2) God is understood as not exclusively male, but as Father-Mother.
3) Women’s roles were never confined to marriage and motherhood as demonstrated by Eddy herself as founder, leader, writer and teacher. Yet her chapter, “Marriage,” endorsed conventional gender roles and morality, and she filled executive positions in the church mainly with men.
4) Eddy embraced egalitarian, cooperative personal and social relationships, yet she herself was authoritarian. She also focused more with the spiritual, individualistic and personal rather than the political, social and economic rights of women.
5) Eddy embraced a holistic vision of spirit and the material thereby negating dualistic worldviews. Yet she understood the material as ultimately unreal making the body of lesser worth.
Print ISSN: 0022-4189
Annotations related by category:
- Availability: Online - Academic Credentials or Fee
- Controversy: Sex and Marriage
- Official Christian Science Publication: No
- People: Eddy, Mary Baker
- Publication Date: 1981-2000
- Resource Types: Article
- Subjects: Bible
- Subjects: Feminist Perspectives
- Subjects: Social and Cultural Studies
- Subjects: Theology