“Writing Revelation: Mary Baker Eddy and Her Early Editions of Science and Health, 1875-1891”
Voorhees, Amy B. “Writing Revelation: Mary Baker Eddy and Her Early Editions of Science and Health, 1875–1891.” PhD Dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2013.
As a Christian Scientist and scholar of American Religious Studies and Women’s Studies, Voorhees examines how 19th-century American social and religious movements impacted Mary Baker Eddy’s evolving first six of ten major editions of her textbook Science and Health. Each edition provides a thematic window into how Mary Baker Eddy’s writing charted its own independent course while still influenced by historical circumstances such as: post-Civil War restorationism, gender, mesmerism, abolitionist movements, New Thought and mind cure, science, theosophy, millennialism, and Christian orthodoxy and liberalism. Voorhees explores Eddy’s rhetorical defense for her textbook as both discovery and revelation (God-inspired) in spite of its many editions (human agency). She illustrates how Eddy used clerical criticisms to refine her arguments, specifically Eddy’s interactions with two prominent religious leaders—a divine healer (A.J. Gordon) and liberal Baptist minister (O.P. Gifford). Voorhees also tracks the coincidence of Eddy’s 1891 edition with the reorganization of her church in 1892 and ordination of her textbook as co-pastor in 1894. Finally, she profiles those who studied Eddy’s textbook and practiced “the principle or science behind the healing in the Christian Scriptures” (14).