Christian Scientists from Chicago would convince a skeptical Mary Baker Eddy to participate in the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions with its message of unity among all religions. Although the address was enthusiastically received, its overall negative impact was the association of Christian Science with theosophy and Vedanta, and the crystalizing of opposition from the more traditional Christian Churches.View Annotation
Annotations Related to Theosophy
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A scholar of American Religious Studies and Women’s Studies, Voorhees examines how 19th-century American social and religious movements impacted Eddy’s evolving first six editions of her book. Each edition provides a thematic window into how Eddy’s writing charted its own independent course. Voorhees explores Eddy’s rhetorical defense for her textbook as both discovery and revelation in spite of its many editions.View Annotation
Albanese’s undergraduate textbook explains Christian Science in the context of the evolution of religions and the meaning of religion in America. Christian Science was one of the 19th-century new religions that made considerable demands on its members, as new sects often did. Albanese’s theological explanations of Christian Science are based on her thorough knowledge of the American metaphysical movement.View Annotation
Albanese’s study of the meaning and role of metaphysics in American religious development includes magical practices (which she equates to healing), Spiritualism, occultism, theosophy, and extra- and post-Christian concerns such as Christian Science. She distances such metaphysics from Gnosticism and from Ahlstrom’s rubric of harmonialism. But significantly, it has played a key role in the culture of the modern state.View Annotation
Albanese identifies three major forms of religion in America: evangelical, liturgical, and metaphysical, claiming that the key to understanding religion in America is the influence of the metaphysical on the others.She locates Christian Science in a continuum of 19th-century metaphysical expressions from Andrew Jackson Davis and Spiritualism to Phineas P. Quimby and then influencing directly and indirectly a wide range of New Thought offshoots.View Annotation
deChant argues that Christian Science should be included in a survey of the world’s religions because of its significant contributions to both American religious life and the world’s religions.He attributes the turmoil to Eddy’s direct and emphatic challenge to the status quo of American culture, calling into question the authority of two of America’s most venerable institutions —religion and medicine.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
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
Bednarowski compares Christian Science and Scientology, two religions often confused. Both Christian Science and Scientology radically seek an understanding of God and reality which the physical world obscures. Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science emerged from Christ-centered revelation and a deep study of the healing message of the Bible. L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology and terminology is more psychological, taking the form of self-help.View Annotation
Bednarowski analyzes the roles of women in 19th-century marginal religious movements (including Christian Science) considering these movements’ perception of the divine, interpretation of the Fall, need for a traditional ordained clergy, and women’s roles other than marriage and motherhood. Regarding Christian Science, Bednarowski notes women were present as writers, preachers, teachers, and healers. They also found independence through opportunities for leadership.View Annotation
Volume two of Peel’s trilogy covers Mary Baker Eddy’s expanding years of 1877 to 1891, her crucial period of trial and error as she fights for the survival of her nascent movement. She organizes her church, clarifies her revolutionary interpretation of the Bible, and teaches pupils who will carry the message of Christian Science beyond New England to a wider world.View Annotation
Judah’s 1967 monograph on the metaphysical movements of 20th-century America remains a valuable resource for a comparison between movements and a documentation of their impact on organized Protestant Christianity. Regarding Christian Science, Judah claims most of its basic biblical doctrinal points are similar to the beliefs of historic Protestantism, but their full explanations place them outside traditional Christian theology.View Annotation
Gestefeld had been an adoring student of Mary Baker Eddy’s until she felt ready to extend her own ideas beyond her teacher. She thought of herself as evidence of the natural progression of what Christian Science should be. But she opposed Eddy’s strict boundaries, and the trajectory of Gestefeld’s writing moved toward eclectic views, contrary to Eddy’s particularism.View Annotation