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Mary Baker Eddy
     

Mary Baker Eddy

5.0 1
by Gill Gillian
 

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In 1866, a frail, impoverished invalid, middle-aged, widowed and divorced, rose from her bed after a life-threatening fall, asked for her Bible, and took the first steps toward the founding of the Christian Science Church. Four decades later, she was revered as their leader by thousands of churches in the U.S. and Europe, had founded a national newspaper, and had

Overview

In 1866, a frail, impoverished invalid, middle-aged, widowed and divorced, rose from her bed after a life-threatening fall, asked for her Bible, and took the first steps toward the founding of the Christian Science Church. Four decades later, she was revered as their leader by thousands of churches in the U.S. and Europe, had founded a national newspaper, and had become probably the most powerful woman in America.Who was this astonishing woman, the mother of the Mother Church? How did she prepare for her illustrious career during her years of obscurity, and what was her inspiration for the healing practices and doctrine of Christian Science? Gillian Gill, a non-Christian Science Scientist scholar, who managed to win unparalleled access to the Church archives, offers here an entirely new look at Mary Baker Eddy.For the first time readers will see the extraordinary leadership skills exercised by Mrs. Eddy despite the repressive forces facing women in her time. For the first time we learn the full story of the bizarre attack on Mrs. Eddy by Joseph Pulitzer and his New York World—alleging that she was at least senile and possibly not even alive. In this enthralling biography, we rediscover Mary Baker Eddy as a radical Christian thinker, pioneer in the recognition of mind/body connections, survivor of scandal, and target of both admiration and scorn from such eminent contemporaries as Mark Twain. Gillian Gill's sense of drama, her critical acumen, and her delicious wit bring to life a brilliant religious leader whose message has new meaning in our time.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Finally, a superb and balanced biography of the enigmatic American religious leader. Independent historian Gill (with a doctorate from Cambridge; Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries, not reviewed) spent years in legal negotiations with the Christian Science Church, trying to gain access to Mrs. Eddy's voluminous correspondence. Her effort paid off: This is the best study to date of Eddy, surpassing other biographies which sought merely to debunk her as a charlatan and hysteric. Gill offers a scholar's concern for placing Mrs. Eddy in the context of 19th-century American women's history. She claims that Eddy has been misunderstood in part because she subverted the well-worn pattern of Victorian female life: "She was conventional in her twenties [and] weak in her thirties, but indefatigably working in her sixties, famous in her seventies, [and] formidable in her eighties." Excessively shrewd in her business dealings and distant from her only son, Mrs. Eddy embodied qualities usually assigned to Victorian men. And Gill's portrait of her is hardly all sweetness and light. She discusses Mrs. Eddy's almost cruel dealings with some of her closest disciples, her increasing paranoia as a superannuated recluse, and her tendencies to "borrow" (plagiarize) ideas from mentors like Phineas Quimby. Even so, Mrs. Eddy emerges from Gill's warts-and-all treatment as a transcendent and powerful figure worthy of respect from the most ultra-orthodox Christian Scientist. If there's any flaw here, it's that Gill could have done more to explore19th-century religion. For example, she quotes from a letter in which the young Mary wrote of her adherence to a strict Grahamite diet. Gill neverexplains the origins or trendiness of Graham's reforms, and assumes (probably wrongly) that the adolescent Mary was a borderline anorexic.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780738202273
Publisher:
Perseus (for Hbg)
Publication date:
09/23/1999
Series:
Radcliffe Biography Series
Pages:
776
Sales rank:
794,212
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.28(h) x 1.95(d)
Lexile:
1630L (what's this?)

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Mary Baker Eddy 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
M/s Gill does an excellent job here from a non Christian Science perspective which tends to deal with the subject matter with more objectivity.In days when women did not have the rights that they have today Mrs Eddy's stength to found a church movement,write her works in the form of her book,Science and Health with key to the Scriptures and found a national daily newspaper are unprecedented and deserve praise for the advancement of womanhood as well as spiritual healing,the trials and attacks on this woman were unable to stop her works.A highly recommended work.