The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy

The following is a review of The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy: The Rise and Fall of Christian Science by Martin Gardner, as written by guest contributor Bacon.


UnknownTo be entirely honest, I’m incredibly glad that I read God’s Perfect Child (Fraser) before trying to wrap – nay – braid – my brain around, among, betwixt the texts within this scrambled maze of original sources (cool!) and snide criticism (oy). The Healing Revelations seems quite promising from the aspect of historical context, and it provides ample fodder from original sources that are almost as dated and contrived as Science and Health…. it’s good to have the context filled in a bit that Fraser referenced. HOWEVER, Fraser was able to keep her work ordered, objective, relatively unbiased and easily accessible by the layperson. Gardner throws you on a literary rollercoaster.

Perhaps Gardner’s work seems a more challenging read because it is so dated; constant references to celebrities (Shirley MacLaine gets 
plenty of coverage) and the assumption that readers were adults of the 70s or 80s (or aware of the gossip at the time) is a bit daunting. Apparently the book started as an article and it grew with frustration and the absurdity of the religion — that much definitely rings true.

Healing Revelations is a work plainly written out of frustration and would easily be dismissed by active Christian Scientists or their sympathizers because of the author’s obvious bias. The nature of the book, of course, spirals in and out of various issues within the religion and keeps self referencing in order to touch on relevant points as often as they surface, but detracts from the overall readability. It does flesh out some of Mary Baker Eddy’s life and legal adventures, along with her perceived competition and the offshoots of the religion which are not as thoroughly covered in other texts.

It’s not a short read, though you’d expect it to be. It’s certainly not an easy read. Much of the content focuses on the plagiarism claims of the Quimby era and how Christian Science influenced/was influenced by the New Thought movement. Overall, the book does give perspective as to how CS was able to gain such a rapid foothold when it did, which isn’t as clearly outlined in Fraser’s book, but it goes to such lengths that it bogs in the personal lives of MBE’s contemporaries and loses traction.

A worthwhile read for context, but definitely not suggested as a first, second, third, or fourth look at the shortcomings of Christian Science.

 

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3 thoughts on “The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this review. As I look at my expanding reading list, it’s helpful to see what’s worth my time to consider, and what I can leave aside.

  2. Bill Sweet says:

    Martin Gardner’s book is pretty good I thought when I read it. Lots can be learned how scientific thinkers, believers in God or not, peer into Christian Science. Christian Scientists ‘need’ to know what the rest of the world thinks of them.

    I may have read Gardner’s book with the view that Gardner as a science writer always had science in his rearview mirror. That would be good IMHO.

    Martin Gardner makes some arguments that do reveal his biases. I recall one bias that still doesn’t make sense to me, but like other arguments he wrote does show us how some onlookers think of Christian Science. Gardner states in so many words that to think that God can heal things at will through the requests of healers is “Tempting the Lord.”

    Martin Gardner makes a point of asking where is the scientific backup for the promises made by Christian Science. That inquiry is the prime point for the future of Christian Science. His inquiry doesn’t ring many bells in CS.

    Arguably, the ‘unique’ element in Christian Science that stands out in relief from other Christian denominations is that Christianity rightly stated is somehow scientific with its laws of God. If that unique scientific contribution to religion and psychology would be presented by the Christian Science Movement, Christian Science ideas would be taken a little more seriously.

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