Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is the central text of the Christian Science religion. It was written by Mary Baker Eddy, inspired by studies of the Bible she undertook in 1867 following a healing experience.
Although Eddy claimed to have first privately published biblical studies as early as 1862 (Eddy, 1934 : pp. viii:24–32), she wrote that her discovery of Christian Science, which inspired the book, took place in 1866.
The first edition was copyrighted in 1875 (Eddy, 1934 : p. ii) and went through more than four hundred revisions (Brosang, 1990 : p. 6) before Eddy's death in 1910. The copyright for Science and Health went through several renewals including a posthumous renewal in 1934 by the Christian Science Board of Directors (Eddy, 1934 : p. ii).
1971 to date
In December 1971, allegedly at the urging of two Christian Scientists in the Richard Nixon administration, John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman, Congress extended the copyright on Science and Health by 75 years, with Private Law 92-60. Following a legal suit brought by David James Nolan and Lucile J. Place of United Christian Scientists, the copyright extension was found unconstitutional in 1987 by Federal District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson whose decision was then upheld in The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and private distributions have subsequently appeared.
Science and Health has been in the public domain since 1987.
During the 1990s, which saw other controversies including the attempted media ventures of the Christian Science Publishing Society and the publication of The Destiny of The Mother Church, a trade edition was released which included an index and an unprecedented introduction by a church director. This unusual edition was marketed outside of the historical channels of individual distribution and Christian Science Reading Rooms.
Science and Health posits a wholly metaphysical view of Christianity in which sin, disease, and death are not of God, and are therefore not real. Further, it suggests that by striving toward a spiritual understanding of the world as God's perfect creation, these "false beliefs" are shed from one's experience.
The latest edition of the book has three sections. The main section, which makes up the bulk of the book, comprises the first 500 pages. The second section, "Key to the Scriptures", examines parts of Genesis and Revelation and provides a Glossary of Eddy's metaphysical interpretations of commonly used terms from the Bible. The final section, "Fruitage", consists of letters written by 84 individuals who said they had been healed - simply by reading the book - of conditions such as rheumatism, a 50-lb. fibroid tumor, cataract, cancer, eczema, asthma, and addictions to tobacco and alcohol.
Science and Health encapsulates the teachings of Christian Science and Christian Scientists often call it their "textbook." At Sunday services, passages from the book are read along with passages from the Bible. Eddy called the two books Christian Science's "dual and impersonal pastor."
In the latest edition of the book, the titles of the chapters are:
- Atonement and Eucharist
- Christian Science versus Spiritualism
- Animal Magnetism Unmasked
- Science, Theology, Medicine
- Footsteps of Truth
- Science of Being
- Some Objections Answered
- Christian Science Practice
- Teaching Christian Science
- The Apocalypse
- Eddy, Mary Baker (1934). Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures. The Christian Science Board of Directors.
- "The Constitution and the Christian Science Textbook". Mary Baker Eddy Institute. 2000. Retrieved 2006-10-15.
- Brosang, Ernest J. (1990). A Christian Science Library: A Descriptive and Extended Bibliography. privately printed.
- Eddy, Mary Baker (1892). Retrospection and Introspection. Christian Science Publishing Society. pp. 24, 37. ISBN 1-4219-6314-0.
- Caroline Fraser, "Suffering Children and the Christian Science Church": http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/unbound/flashbks/xsci/suffer.htm
- U.S. Copyright Office - Copyright Law: Chapter 3
- Private Law 92-60, AN ACT For the relief of Clayton Bion Craig, Arthur P. Wuth, Mrs. Lenore D. Hanks, David E. Sleeper, and DeWitt John
- New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/1987/09/23/us/christian-science-text-s-copyright-is-ruled-illegal-by-appeals-court.html
- Eddy, Mary Baker (1896). Miscellaneous Writings. Christian Science Publishing Society. pp. 322:10. ISBN 0-87952-040-X.
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- Read Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures online
- More information on the Mary Baker Eddy Library Website
- Science and Health (First edition. Boston: Christian Scientist Publishing Company, 1875) from the National Library of Medicine