Dean, a graduate student in American Religious History, examines the life of Mary Baker Eddy through a psychological lens—”her desires, her fears, the way in which she came to this [Christian Science] doctrine, and her state of mind throughout her life” (61). His aim is to humanize Eddy beyond the stereotypical views of her as either saint or fraud.View Annotation
Annotations Related to Psychology
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Janik traces the historical path of mesmerism from Franz Mesmer’s late 18th-century theories on animal magnetism, leading to de Puysegur’s discovery of hypnosis, to Charles Poyan’s 1830 lecture tour introducing mesmerism and hypnotism to New England, to Phineas Quimby’s mind cure practice, to Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science movement, to New Thought and eventually today’s clinical psychology.View Annotation
Loue addresses the conflict generated among numerous parties concerned with the death or potential death of a child whose parents rely on religious, non-medical means for healing (including Christian Science). She calls for a systematic study with sufficient scientific rigor of the effects of religious healing, to confirm or refute claims of adherents and opponents of religious healing for children.View Annotation
Although the book is a study on Cather and the relationship between her life and her writing, Porter finds in Cather’s writing insistent reminders of Mary Baker Eddy which bubble up as if from an obsessive subconscious, shaping characters and themes so that they recall Eddy even as they resist her (Eddy’s) influence. Porter’s psychoanalysis concludes Cather saw herself in Eddy.View Annotation
Taves’s work is a study of religious experience with a focus on the difference between the indwelling Spirit of God and a lively imagination. Although Mary Baker Eddy was a patient and student of Phineas Quimby’s, Taves identifies the crucial distinction between them through Eddy’s differentiation of spirit from matter. Quimby valued both states simultaneously whereas Eddy held them in complete opposition.View Annotation
This book’s study on the history of Christian theology in America includes Mary Baker Eddy’s contributions. Eddy’s theological treatise, Science and Health, distanced itself from literal interpretations of the Bible, interpreting central Christian elements in terms of mental experience. Porterfield finds Eddy’s theology coherent and more fairly understood as a remarkably creative if unschooled form of American Protestant thought.View Annotation
Thomas, not a Christian Scientist, draws on his training in history and psychoanalysis to explain why some of the unusual details of Mary Baker Eddy’s life were disturbing to some and dismissed as irrelevant to her followers. He focuses on understanding the complexities and inconsistencies of Eddy’s life that caused the range of reactions from veneration to vilification.View Annotation
This autobiography by John Wyndham opens with his three-year experience as a prisoner of war during WWII. His faith, grounded on his study of Christian Science, kept him alert and strong during years of solitary confinement. His personal story, a window on the serious practice of Christian Science during trying times, illustrates the basis of faith inspired by its teachings.View Annotation
McDonald notes that most feminist and psychological explanations attribute the success of Christian Science not to its theological worth, but for its personal utility. These explanations ironically resemble the traditional reductionism assigned to public women by 19th-century men—ironic because a decade of feminist scholarship on Eddy has helped to reinforce patriarchy. McDonald examines these social, intellectual, and religious stereotypes.View Annotation
Marty’s critique of Silberger’s 1980 biography on Mary Baker Eddy applies equally to Silberger’s inadequate psychological theory and to the fault of the Christian Science church in the late 20th century for barring its doors against researchers. It was not the fault of Silberger that he offered no new documentation, but his claim to psychohistory also fails to make use of any elaborated psychological theories.View Annotation
Forty years after publication, Silberger’s conclusions about Mary Baker Eddy appear to rest more on secondary polemical sources and his personal psychological theories than clinical justification. True, scholars had very little access to primary sources until the opening of the Mary Baker Eddy Library in 2002. Unfortunately for Silberger’s argument, the Church archives now discredit the validity of his sources.View Annotation
Meyer’s purpose was to assess religion as therapy: as a cult of reassurance, as psychology of peace and positive thinking. After a brief biography of Mary Baker Eddy’s life, Meyer positions Christian Science as a kind of psychotherapy dressed in religious attire —mind cure’s tightly organized, exclusive denomination. However, his perception is based on very few and dated resources.View Annotation
Pickering, a professor of medicine for 30 years, looks at six eminent Victorians to explore the premise that their physical and psychological suffering helped generate their most productive and creative work. Relying on maily hostile sources, he reduces Eddy’s maladies to a diagnosis of hysteria and portrays Eddy as ruthless, selfish, and dishonest in never giving full credit for Christian Science to Phineas P. Quimby.View Annotation
Parker’s psychoanalytical approach to understanding Mary Baker Eddy brings Twain’s ambition analysis and Fiedler’s sanctity of 19th-century female spirituality into tension. Parker sees Eddy’s desire to sublimate her willful personality through submission to the purity and safety of the feminine, while exploiting the culture of womanhood to fulfill her drive for success in leading a religious movement and hiding her ambition.View Annotation
Pfautz examines what he calls the social psychological secularization process of the Christian Science Church from its beginnings in 1879 to the mid-20th century (Pfautz’s time of writing). By secularization, he means “the tendency of sectarian religious movements… to become both part of and like ‘the world.’”View Annotation
England, an emeritus professor of sociology, studied 500 testimonies from The Christian Science Journal from 1929 to 1946 to evaluate characteristics of church adherents. Testimonies include a great deal of self-diagnosis and show indifference to the natural healing power of the human body. Most testimonies fell into four categories: physical health, financial concerns, intoxicants, and discord, depression or general unhappiness.View Annotation
The value of Studdert-Kennedy’s 1933 work for researchers in the 21st century lies in the fact that it offers a rare depiction of Mary Baker Eddy shortly after her death that is neither hagiographic nor polemic. He also critiques other biographers for writing pseudo psychoanalyses rather than true biographies, a pretense for lashing out at will.View Annotation
This 1930 biography on Mary Baker Eddy appears in this contemporary bibliography because of its role in Christian Science history. Without access to church archives and drawing on others who discredited her, Dakin’s biography reads like a conspiracy theory against Eddy. An important comparison can be made between Dakin’s and Lyman Powell’s biographies of the same year.View Annotation
This extremely important report covers the court trial, the ‘Next Friends’ suit against Mary Baker Eddy, which was dismissed. It includes records of pre-trial publicity, court proceedings, and press interviews, and is an important study for the American history of religion, the struggle between religion and science, medical and psychiatric history, legal precedence, and the powerful, long-lasting impact of yellow journalism.View Annotation