Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

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Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
Science and Health, 1875, cover page.jpg
First edition of Science and Health (1875)
Author Mary Baker Eddy
Country United States
Language English
Publication date
Media type Print

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is the central text of the Christian Science religion. Mary Baker Eddy described it as her "most important work."[1] She began writing it in February 1872[2] and the first edition was published in 1875.


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 consists of three sections: a short preface, the main section, and a second section.

Main section[edit]

The main section is 500 pages long and comprises chapters titled

  • Prayer
  • Atonement and Eucharist
  • Marriage
  • Christian Science versus Spiritualism
  • Animal Magnetism Unmasked
  • Science, Theology, Medicine
  • Physiology
  • Footsteps of Truth
  • Creation
  • Science of Being
  • Some Objections Answered
  • Christian Science Practice (which explains how healing is undertaken)
  • Teaching Christian Science
  • Recapitulation (the text used for class instruction in Christian Science healing).

Second section[edit]

The second section is 200 pages and comprises

  • Key to the Scriptures (explanations and critical interpretations of the Bible)
  • Genesis (a detailed analysis of the two versions of the creation story given in Genesis)
  • The Apocalypse (an analysis of parts of Revelation)
  • Glossary (symbolic interpretations, redefining, and extending definitions)
  • Fruitage (testimonials)

The final section, "Fruitage", consists of 84 testimonials of the healing power derived from the text in Science and Health. There are descriptions of addiction, asthma, broken bone, cataract, cancer, deafness, eczema, a fibroid tumor, and rheumatism.



The first edition was copyrighted in 1875[1][3] and went through more than four hundred revisions[4] 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.[3]

1971 to date[edit]

At the request of the Christian Science Board of Directors, in December 1971 Congress passed a law [5] extending the copyright on Science and Health by 75 years.[6][7] However, following a legal suit brought by David James Nolan and Lucile J. Place of United Christian Scientists, the copyright extension was found unconstitutional in 1985 by Federal District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson.[8] In 1987 the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the ruling of the district court.[9] As a result, Science and Health has been in the public domain since 1987.


The Bible (left) and Science and Health (right)

During the 1990s, a trade edition was released which included an index and a banner headline "More than 10 million copies sold." This edition was intended for marketing through ordinary booksellers.


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."[10]


  • Eddy, Mary Baker (1906). 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. 


  1. ^ a b Eddy, Mary Baker (1892). Retrospection and Introspection. Christian Science Publishing Society. pp. 24, 37. ISBN 1-4219-6314-0. 
  2. ^ Orcutt, William Dana (1950). Mary Baker Eddy and her books. Christian Science Publishing Society. pp. 16, 19. 
  3. ^ a b Eddy, 1906: p. ii.
  4. ^ Brosang, 1990: p. 6.
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ UPI (Dec 11, 1971). "Senate Gives Scientists 75-Year Text Extension". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved Oct 3, 2014. 
  7. ^ U.S. Copyright Office (n.d.). "Chapter 31 Duration of Copyright". Library of Congress. Retrieved Oct 3, 2014. 
  8. ^ Staff reporter (Aug 22, 1985). "Christian Scientists fight over founder's book". Boca Raton News. Retrieved Oct 3, 2014. 
  9. ^ AP (Sep 23, 1987). "Christian Science Text's Copyright Is Ruled Illegal by Appeals Court". New York Times. Retrieved Oct 3, 2014. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the law giving the church a copyright to all editions of "Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures" was unconstitutional because it "offends the fundamental principles of separation of church and state. 
  10. ^ Eddy, Mary Baker (1896). Miscellaneous Writings: 1886-1896. Christian Science Publishing Society. pp. 322:10. ISBN 0-87952-040-X. 

External links[edit]