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
Resources Discussing Franz Mesmer
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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
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
Christian Science and New Thought both conveyed a “metaphysical perfectionism” in sync with late 19th-century American can-do spirit and the golden glow of California culture with its promises of prosperity. Key women in Christian Science left the movement to become teachers and prime movers of New Thought in California. Other reasons for the decline in both movements today are discussed.View Annotation
Franz Mesmer believed that through the use of magnets he could manipulate an invisible energy or fluid that he called ‘animal magnetism,’ which existed in all beings, to cure patients. The focus of mesmerism was the balancing of this energy. Several 19th-century American thought leaders, including Mary Baker Eddy, acknowledged the influence of mesmerism in their teaching methodologies.View Annotation
Sizer argues that the multiple forms of mind cure of the 19th century arose from the metaphoric and poetic language of the 18th century. She traces threads of old metaphors used by mind-cure systems to justify themselves against the theories of orthodox medicine. Mary Baker Eddy went even further toward transcendentalism in Science and Health, using emotional, musical, or visceral metaphors.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
If Bellwald had had access to archival resources on Christian Science, he might have made a more accurate comparison between Christian Science and Roman Catholicism of the early twentieth century. His organizational approach to his study is well conceived, but he combines the resources of blatant polemics, Milmine and Peabody, with his own Catholic perspectives to denounce Christian Science.View Annotation
Podmore’s 1909 study of mental healing establishes a trajectory from Mesmer’s dismissal of healing in the churches, through the materialism in animal magnetism, through the psychical side of Spiritualism, toward clairvoyant diagnoses of Quimby, and finally returning to the church in the arrival of Mary Baker Eddy’s religion. The book consists of a historical context for the mind-body experimentation.View Annotation