Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

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First edition of Science and Health (1875)

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

Thesis[edit]

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.

Sections[edit]

The latest edition of the book consists of three sections. Following a short preface, the main section, 500 pages long, comprises the chapters on 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; and Recapitulation (the text used for class instruction in Christian Science healing).

The second section, "Key to the Scriptures", gives a detailed analysis of the two versions of the creation story given in Genesis, and of parts of Revelation. It concludes with a glossary of spiritual meanings of terms used in the Bible, and elsewhere.

The final section, "Fruitage", consists of 84 letters written by individuals who said they had been healed - simply by reading the book - of conditions such as addictions to tobacco and alcohol, asthma, a broken bone, cataract, cancer, deafness, eczema, a fibroid tumor, and rheumatism.

Copyright[edit]

1875–1934[edit]

The first edition was copyrighted in 1875[1] (Eddy, 1910 : 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, 1910 : p. ii).

1971 to date[edit]

At the request of the Christian Science Board of Directors, in December 1971 Congress passed a law [3] extending the copyright on Science and Health by 75 years.[4] 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 1987 by Federal District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson. This decision was then upheld in The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.[5] As a result, Science and Health has been in the public domain since 1987.

Editions[edit]

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.

Summary[edit]

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."[6]

Resources[edit]

  • Eddy, Mary Baker (1910). 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. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]