Gallagher highlights four American alternative Christianities able to maintain continuity and gain legitimacy by retaining elements of the dominant Christianity and texts of its day, while also engaging in a “creative exercise of interpretive ingenuity” that resulted in a novel message evoked from familiar symbolic capital.View Annotation
Resources Discussing Henry David Thoreau
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Willsky claims Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health (among other 19th-century works) was a reaction to the dogmatism of the Plain Bible ethos of American Protestantism. The predominant interpretation of the Bible as ‘plain’ meant its message, as understood by Reformed and evangelical Protestant culture, was authoritatively true. Eddy made the best attempt to modify this notion with divine healing revelations.View Annotation
Simon assesses autobiographies of some early Americans, including Mary Baker Eddy, using affect theory to assess primal sources of original thought that only later become expressible in language and reason. She focuses on Eddy’s Genesis-derived definition of deity that reverses the subordination of women, and her other statements about gender as culturally constructed.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