“The Rhetorical Construction of God: Mary Baker Eddy’s Journey: 1821-1912”
Dunlap, Caroline. “The Rhetorical Construction of God: Mary Baker Eddy’s Journey: 1821–1912.” PhD Dissertation, Wayne State University, 2000.
Dunlap’s dissertation is a rhetorical analysis focused on Mary Baker Eddy’s 19th-century life and writings. She examines Eddy’s opponents’ writings resulting from her “intrusion” (23) into 19th-century science, theology and medicine. She analyzes how Eddy used the rhetoric of her time to gain credibility, and reverse 19th-century assumptions about reality in order to “re-define, re-interpret, and re-shape” them (15). Dunlap, a Christian Scientist, explores the resonance between Eddy’s language about spiritual reality and the metaphysical language of contemporary quantum physics, or the means “to bring the seen and the unseen into relation with each other” (56). Although quantum theory was discovered after Eddy’s death, Dunlap speculates that “the ideas were already encoded in the frequency domain of the implicate order, and that Eddy was somehow able to decode them and thus … bring them into human experience to manifest themselves” (160). Additionally, Dunlap employs her own rhetoric to create a monologue video performance of Eddy’s life based on her writings and those of some of her followers. Her script (also on DVD) is intended to give a more intimate portrait of Eddy as a person.