The History and Philosophy of the Metaphysical Movements in America
Judah, J. Stillson. The History and Philosophy of the Metaphysical Movements in America. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1967.
Judah’s 1967 monograph on the metaphysical movements of 20th-century America remains a valuable resource for a comparison between movements and a documentation of their impact on organized Protestant Christianity. The study includes Christian Science, Spiritualism, theosophy, Phineas P. Quimby, New Thought, Divine Science, and Religious Science. Judah identifies 15 common characteristics of these movements, such as the goodness of God and the unreality of evil; the rejection of creedal authority and the sinfulness of man; the belief that the real self is made in the image of God, but not sharing God’s divine nature; pragmatism resulting in demonstrated experience; and equating salvation with discovery of a higher reality (12-18). Apart from these similarities, the rest of the book is devoted to the uniqueness of each movement. Regarding Christian Science, Judah claims most of its basic biblical doctrinal points are similar to the beliefs of historic Protestantism, but their full explanations place them outside traditional Christian theology. Christian Science is further separated “because of its belief in the final revelation of Mrs. Eddy” (258). However, Judah also notes that critics have dwelt too heavily on doctrinal disagreements, but “there is still a place for a more rounded perspective of [Eddy’s] doctrine” (257).