A New Christian Identity
Christian Science Origins and Experience in American Culture
- ISBN: 9781469662350
- Published By: University of North Carolina Press
- Published: March 2021
In this study of Christian Science and the culture in which it arose, Amy B. Voorhees emphasizes Mary Baker Eddy’s foundational religious text, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Assessing the experiences of everyday adherents after Science and Health’s appearance in 1875, Voorhees shows how Christian Science developed a dialogue with both mainstream and alternative Christian theologies. Viewing God’s benevolent allness as able to heal human afflictions through prayer, Christian Science emerged as an anti-mesmeric, restorationist form of Christianity that interpreted the Bible and approached emerging modern medicine on its own terms.
Voorhees traces a surprising story of religious origins, cultural conversations, and controversies. She contextualizes Christian Science within a wide swath of cultural and religious movements, showing how Eddy and her followers interacted regularly with Baptists, Methodists, Congregationalists, Catholics, Jews, New Thought adherents, agnostics, and Theosophists. Influences flowed in both directions, but Voorhees argues that Christian Science was distinct not only organizationally, as scholars have long viewed it, but also theologically, a singular expression of Christianity engaging modernity with an innovative, healing rationale.