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
Resources Discussing Mark Twain
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Reesman details many parallels between Mark Twain’s troubled later life and his one-dimensional literary portrayals of both Joan of Arc and Mary Baker Eddy. Both were visionaries. Joan’s voice in her trial record is consistent, but Eddy was delusional. Eddy uses her mentor, Quimby’s, words for her own profit. Both of Twain’s literary portrayals put his own personality on full display.View Annotation
Squires sees the opening of the Mary Baker Eddy Library as an opportunity for literary scholars to give closer attention to the history, doctrines, and distinctions of Christian Science. Only then will there be an honest and accurate account for the literature that seeks to represent or critique them.View Annotation
Although these contemporary authors never met, their mutual interest in sincere religion and the power of thought inevitably brought the two distinguished figures into a provocative relationship. The fact that he shifted his position on Christian Science several times indicates the conflict within his own worldview. It was no more insane than any other channel of human thought. Just more interesting.View Annotation
Swensen documents the long-term effect of Alfred Farlow’s early crusade to protect the growing Christian Science Church from outside attacks, and muzzle an unrestrained and over-zealous faithful. He sees this protective stance as casting a long shadow over the content of future church periodicals, and the reason why members have since shown a deep reticence for personal outreach.View Annotation
Schrager finds commonality between Eddy’s theological/therapeutic movement and Twain’s mental telegraphy. Both sought legitimacy by associating their convictions with the newly professionalizing discourse of science. But Twain was threatened by Eddy’s transgression of 19th-century female norms and monopoly of religious interpretation; and Eddy’s integrity of womanhood was threatened, if not seduced, by the aggressive masculinity of mesmerist and physician.View Annotation
Gill, a feminist historian and biographer, offers a fresh view of Mary Baker Eddy’s achievements in the light of obstacles faced by women in her time. Without access to Church archives Gill relied on Peel’s archival research. Gill’s unique contribution challenges the traditional biographers’ view of Eddy as a hysterical invalid who abandoned her son and stole her ideas.View Annotation
The editor, Ernest Frerichs, brings together scholars writing about all things biblical in America. In the last chapter, Peel documents the key role of the Bible in Mary Baker Eddy’s life story and the Christian Science tradition, evident especially in Eddy’s textbook Science and Health. Peel documents Eddy’s 35 years of multiple revisions, resulting from Eddy’s own maturing experience.View Annotation
Johnsen claims that it was not mind cure, or Phineas P. Quimby (evaluated in detail) that influenced Mary Baker Eddy; rather it was the profoundly shifting Puritan tradition which infused the 19th-century “New England mind” and was the religious milieu out of which Christian Science emerged. Johnsen demonstrates how Eddy, with her Congregational background in tow, “carried forward certain essential dimensions of [Jonathan] Edwardsian thought and piety.”View Annotation
Volume three of Peel’s trilogy covers the final chapters of Mary Baker Eddy’s life—1892-1910—a time when Eddy struggles to balance her movement’s need for organization and preservation with its life-giving inspiration and revelation. As productive as these final decades were, Eddy’s life would continue to be plagued by personal attacks and legal suits that ultimately collapsed.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
Clara Clemens, daughter of Mark Twain, records the help she received “both physically and metaphysically” in her experience of Christian Science. The book details her life journey with numerous quotes from the Bible and Science and Health, and how she applied Christian Science to her challenges.View Annotation
Mark Twain’s book on Christian Science is drawn primarily from articles he had written over the years for Cosmopolitan and other periodicals. He fully engaged his vivid imagination in creating this text, fueled by evidence (some true, some false) offered to him from hostile sources such as Frederick Peabody, who made a career out of defaming Eddy.View Annotation