Rolling Away the Stone: Mary Baker Eddy's Challenge to Materialism

Rolling Away the Stone: Mary Baker Eddy's Challenge to Materialism

Rolling Away the Stone: Mary Baker Eddy's Challenge to Materialism

Rolling Away the Stone: Mary Baker Eddy's Challenge to Materialism

Synopsis

This richly detailed study highlights the last two decades of the life of Mary Baker Eddy, a prominent religious thinker whose character and achievement arejust beginning to be understood. It is the first book-length discussion of Eddy tomake full use of the resources of the Mary Baker Eddy Collection in Boston. Rolling Away the Stone focuses on her long-reaching legacy as a Christian thinker, specifically her challenge to the materialism that threatens religious belief andpractice.

Excerpt

A certain sadness accompanies the appearance of this volume by Stephen Gottschalk, who struggled with illness and died while engaged in the last stages of revising his manuscript in preparation for its publication. During the difficult weeks of his illness prior to his death, he persisted in and completed the task, assisted by his wife, Mary. We regret that Stephen Gottschalk will not be present to engage the readers of his book and to receive the positive responses we anticipate for this volume.

Gottschalk, an intellectual historian par excellence, was uniquely positioned as a Christian Science insider to interpret the historical development of the religious tradition. in fact, not since the late Robert Peel, also a Christian Scientist, has any insider been better equipped to interpret the religious thought of Mary Baker Eddy. Moreover, the project of taking Eddy seriously as a theologian cannot be overrated. This volume cuts through and rolls away a number of barriers beyond the one to which its title alludes. It takes seriously the theological production of an individual outside the well-groomed tradition of professional Protestant theologizing, an individual with only a modicum of formal education, and a woman at that.

From the point of view of Christian Science theologizing itself, this book is decidedly revisionist. a few years ago the directors of the Mother Church countenanced the publication of a book that more or less deified Eddy. By doing so, the church obtained millions of dollars when the work appeared in print. in the context of that event and of the theological stance that it apparently represented for some in the church, Stephen Gottschalk’s new book is a timely polemical intervention. It points to Christian Science’s antimaterialist roots in the theology of its founder. in fact, according to Gottschalk, Mary Baker Eddy identified the primary error of the Christian tradition with belief in materialism and the corollary (false) judgment that God created a world in which mortality and materialism were essential elements. She declared that misunderstanding to be destroyed by the birth, healing ministry, and resurrection of Jesus. She thought that the medical, scientific, and ecclesiastical spheres of . . .

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