Voorhees offers new scholarship on a broad array of topics related to Christian Science identity focusing on reception history. With attention to fully resourced details and modern scholarship, Voorhees outlines the reception history of Christian Science in fields of religion, women studies, American history, politics, medicine, and metaphysics. She probes Mary Baker Eddy’s relationships with contemporary scholars, religion leaders, and students.View Annotation
Annotations Related to Suffrage
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Feminist scholarship will benefit from this research on Eddy’s relation to the suffragist movement and why the chapter ‘Marriage’ is placed in an early, prominent position in Science and Health. Eddy had stated that Science and Health had ‘crossed swords with the free love’ as embraced by Spiritualists and Revivalists, even as they were drawn to Christian Science because of its radical departure from the patriarchal church.View Annotation
Specific to Eddy, Ingham relates feminist themes to her groundbreaking textbook, Science and Health, as well as many of her earlier writings and sensibilities. Specifically, Ingham lays out Stanton’s and Eddy’s exegesis of the first and last books of the Bible, thereby providing an interpretive space from which to challenge a singular definition concerning creation in Genesis and prophecy in Revelation.View Annotation
This article includes an examination of feminism and the quest for gender equality in 19th century America, particularly in rejection of interpretations of the second biblical creation story that justified male dominance and female subservience. One sub-section devoted to Mary Baker Eddy describes her unique interpretation of the spirituality of divine creation, which undergirds Christian Science and the church she founded.View Annotation
Johnson contextualizes theologians Ruether and Eddy within feminist history showing how each “changed the boundaries of the Church’s theological thinking on the rights of women,” freeing them up to be seen and heard. Johnson finds feminist principles at work in Eddy’s writings on marriage laws, use of language, theology (especially her Father-Mother God), and church structure empowering women in roles as local leaders and healers.View Annotation
Darling and Fiarman explain how a little-known, but important suffragist, Mary A. Livermore, provides an important link to an understanding of Mary Baker Eddy’s attitudes toward woman suffrage. The movement consisted of multiple approaches. Eddy rejected some, especially those advocates who attacked the Bible as the source of women’s oppression. But with Livermore, Eddy found a suffragist with compatible religious views.View Annotation
Michell examines the influences, and theological connections and differences, between the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy, Emma Curtis Hopkins, the 19th-century Woman’s movement, and the New Thought and New Age movements. Hopkins, unlike Eddy, would see Truth in all religions, not limited to Christianity, and focused more on a prosperity gospel.View Annotation
Within the context of the interaction of cultural, intellectual, and religious influences, Prentiss positions Christian Science as a response to orthodox theologies, the lingering effects of the Civil War, horrific medical practices, and the suffrage movement. Christian Science theology appeared to subscribe to Platonic dualism, but its view of matter as a product of a false consciousness distinguishes it from dualism.View Annotation
Seeing no social change favoring women’s rights, suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton switched her energies to addressing the underlying issue of women’s subordination rooted in the Bible. Like Mary Baker Eddy’s opus, Science and Health, Stanton’s Women’s Bible was intended as a vehicle for emancipation. Kern includes Eddy among the many women bearing (indirect) influence on Stanton’s story.View Annotation
Braude looks at how the flourishing of Spiritualism in the mid-19th century intersected with the inception of the women’s rights movement in the same period. She documents that the most serious challenge to Spiritualism and mediumship came from the new religious movement Christian Science. However, although Mary Baker Eddy rejected Spiritualism outright, Braude finds many sympathetic Spiritualists in Eddy’s initial audience.View Annotation
Alice Clark, a British suffragist and historian of women, was influenced by her later affiliation with Christian Science. In Christian Science, Clark found a synthesis of her Quaker belief in the ‘Light within’ with a gender identity that rejected dominance in a male-governed world of the power of reason and the corresponding value of the feminine for impacting world affairs.View Annotation
Messer, a mid-20th century women’s suffrage activist, sociologist, and Christian Scientist provides valuable insights into both the American self-understanding of political situations and the applicability of Christian Science in the world. Unlike most writing on Christian Science in her day, Messer applies Mary Baker Eddy’s metaphysics to the broader political and social elements, anticipating the ultimate model for global completeness.View Annotation