“When the Spirit Moves Women” in Sisters and Saints, Women and American Religion
Braude, Ann. “When the Spirit Moves Women,” Pages 136–38 in Sisters and Saints, Women and American Religion. Series: Religion in American Life. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
Braude’s accessible book describes how central women have been in American religious history as they balanced family and church, took on leadership roles, and were influenced by the emergence of feminist theology in the late 20th century. However, Braude attempts the impossible—to condense Mary Baker Eddy’s complex life and theology into two pages in a chapter titled “When the Spirit Moves Women.” This chapter does capture what these Spirit-moved women were about, for they “believed that God’s call was more important than social conventions…” (30). A much more insightful and contextual take on Eddy’s life is found in Braude’s book Radical Spirits: Spiritualism and Women’s Rights in Nineteenth Century America, (2nd ed. 2001) where Braude examines how Christian Science intersected with Spiritualism and women’s rights in 19th-century America.