Christian Science

   Christian Science is a metaphysical religion that emerged in New England in reaction to the spiritual healing experienced by founder Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910). Eddy was a semi-invalid for most of her life until she met Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802-66), a mesmerist and mental healer, in Belfast, Maine. She improved dramatically under his care and began to ponder the nature of healing. Shortly after Quimby's death, Eddy had an accident in 1866, slipping on some ice, and was confined to bed seriously ill. She reported that while reading her Bible she received a revelation about divine healing. She was immediately able to get up and walk.
   Her struggle to understand the world based on the healing experience led her to a period of teaching and writing, culminating in her major treatise, Science and Health (later expanded as Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures), initially published in 1875. Her students came to accept the book as a companion volume to the Bible.
   In 1870, Eddy began to train others how to heal in silence using her methodology. She started the Christian Science Association for students near Boston in 1876, and in 1879, she organized the Church of Christ, Scientist, in Lynn, Massachusetts, moving it to Boston in 1881. She allowed her students to ordain her as the sole pastor. In 1882, she founded the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, where for the next seven years she continued to teach future Christian Science practitioners and teachers.
   Although Eddy's attempt to wed healing with Christianity had parallels in the healing experiences so central to Jesus' ministry, her teachings radically departed from Protestant tradition. God was seen as a Principle, not as a person, and that principle was described as Life, Truth, Love, Substance, and Intelligence. Eddy also advanced an allegorical interpretation of the Bible; the Key to the Scriptures she appended to Science and Health was a dictionary to assist in that interpretation. The very fact that Science and Health was a new revelation challenged the authority that Protestants ascribed to the Bible alone.
   Eddy reorganized the church in 1892 and later developed the Church Manual containing the rules for governing the church. A five-person governing board administers the Mother Church and issues charters for branch churches. The Christian Science Publishing Society, with its own board of directors, is responsible for several periodicals, including The Christian Science Monitor, The Herald of Christian Science (published in 12 languages and Braille), The Christian Science Journal, the Christian Science Sentinel, and the Herald of Christian Science Quarterly.
   There are approximately 3,000 churches worldwide. Membership is unknown. Headquarters are in Boston. Several of Eddy's students left her to found independent churches and schools. Emma Curtis Hopkins (1853-1925) opened the Christian Science Theological Seminary in Chicago in the 1880s, became the fountainhead of the movement later called New Thought, and ordained many of the first generation of its leaders, such as Myrtle and Charles Fillmore, the founders of the Unity School of Christianity.
   Further reading:
   ■ Christian Science: A Sourcebook of Contemporary Materials (Boston: Christian Science Publishing Society, 1990)
   ■ Gillian Gill, Mary Baker Eddy (Reading, Mass.: Perseus Books, 1998)
   ■ Stephen Gottshalk, The Emergence of Christian Science in American Religious Life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978)
   ■ Robert Peel, Mary Baker Eddy, 3 vols. (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1971).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Christian Science — Science chrétienne Église de la Science chrétienne à Boston La Science chrétienne (ou Christian Science) est un mouvement religieux fondé par Mary Baker Eddy en 1879 et rassemblant de nos jours 1 800 églises dans 82 pays …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Christian Science — (deutsch: Christliche Wissenschaft) ist der Name der von Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910) nach 1866 entwickelten Lehre, die sie in ihrem Buch Wissenschaft und Gesundheit mit Schlüssel zur Heiligen Schrift formulierte und 1875 erstmals veröffentlichte …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Christian Science —    Christian Science was founded in the USA in 1879 by Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910). About one third of its 3,000 worldwide congregations are based outside the United States. It is popularly best known for its commitment to faith healing and its… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture

  • Christian Science — A system of healing disease of mind and body which teaches that all cause and effect is mental, and that sin, sickness, and death will be destroyed by a full understanding of the Divine Principle of Jesus teaching and healing. The system was… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Christian Science — ► NOUN ▪ the beliefs and practices of the Church of Christ Scientist, a Christian sect. DERIVATIVES Christian Scientist noun …   English terms dictionary

  • Christian Science — ☆ Christian Science n. a religion and a system of healing founded by Mary Baker Eddy c. 1866, based on an interpretation of the Scriptures asserting that disease, sin, and death may be overcome by understanding and applying the divine principles… …   English World dictionary

  • Christian Science — n [U] a religion started in America in 1866, which includes the belief that illnesses can be cured by faith >Christian Scientist n …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Christian Science — noun uncount a religion started by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879 whose members think that illness should be cured through religious belief ╾ ,Christian Scientist noun count …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Christian Science — (engl., spr. krißtjĕn ßai ĕns, »christliche Wissenschaft«), Name der von Mrs. Mary Eddy (s.d.) begründeten metaphysischen Heilmethode, deren Grundsätze in Eddys Buch »Science and health, with key to the scriptures« (252. Aufl., Boston 1903)… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Christian Science — (en fr. Science chrÉtienne) doctrine des scientistes chrétiens fondée à Boston (È. U.), en 1879, par Mary Baker Eddy …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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