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date: 28 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Christian Scientists read and study the Bible in conjunction with Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, a book first published in 1875. Eddy’s Puritan heritage, including her rebellion against the doctrine of predestination, and the convergence of Eddy’s religious commitments with her desire to regain her own health and to more generally relieve human suffering, influenced her approach to the Bible and supplied the dominant motifs for her teaching, writing, preaching, and organizing. Eddy’s ideas were rooted in the bible, but she promoted the same individual agency toward the bible as she did for her readers’ lives in general. This agency would allow readers of her book to make the Bible their own. Her experience demonstrated that the scriptures became more authoritative when it was the spiritual, not the literal meaning that really counted.

Keywords: Mary Baker Eddy, Christian Scientists, healing system, homeopathy, spiritual meaning, Phineas P. Quimby, Graf-Wellhausen Genesis hypothesis, Christian Science Monitor

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