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"With bleeding footsteps" : Mary Baker Eddy's path to religious leadership

Author: Robert David Thomas
Publisher: New York : Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 1994.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Summary:
Born in 1821, Mary Baker Eddy rose from unremarkable, indeed unfortunate, beginnings - a sickly New Hampshire farm girl all too accustomed to the illness and death of loved ones - to become, early in the twentieth century, a household name across America, and famous around the world. In this groundbreaking biography, Robert Thomas brilliantly employs his training in both history and psychoanalysis and, for a  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Biography
History
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Thomas, Robert David, 1939-
"With bleeding footsteps".
New York : Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 1994
(OCoLC)624373486
Named Person: Mary Baker Eddy; Mary Baker Eddy; Mary Baker Eddy; Mary Baker Eddy
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Robert David Thomas
ISBN: 0679414959 9780679414957
OCLC Number: 26932293
Description: xvii, 363 pages : portrait ; 24 cm
Contents: Baker family : Ornaments and chains --
Mary Baker's youth: a time to weep, laugh, mourn, dance --
Blind guides full of excess --
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: a prohpet raised up? --
Issues from death : salvation through fear and trembling --
Her words were now written --
Behold a mother in Israel --
Something fearful this way comes --
Pleasant view : to rule her own house --
Children of light and day --
Strange children --
Big woman with a little book --
Bearing fruit in old age --
With baners still flying: Christian Science and American culture.
Responsibility: Robert David Thomas.
More information:

Abstract:

Born in 1821, Mary Baker Eddy rose from unremarkable, indeed unfortunate, beginnings - a sickly New Hampshire farm girl all too accustomed to the illness and death of loved ones - to become, early in the twentieth century, a household name across America, and famous around the world. In this groundbreaking biography, Robert Thomas brilliantly employs his training in both history and psychoanalysis and, for a non-Christian Scientist, his unprecedented access to Church archives to illuminate the psychological and social circumstances that led to Eddy's founding of a major religious movement. Thomas begins by revealing in full the family tragedies that deeply affected, almost overwhelmed, the young girl, and shaped in her an awareness of the limited ability of traditional institutions to alleviate suffering. He casts new light on her conflicted relationships with her severely Calvinist father and her loving - but demanding - mother, on her inability to "mother" her own son, and on her involvement in such movements and fads of the period as spiritualism, homeopathy, the Graham diet, and water cures. He helps us understand the patterns in her life and how it came to be that a fall on ice when she was forty-five precipitated a life-changing religious experience that ultimately led to the establishment of the Church of Christ, Scientist. Thomas helps us to know Mary Baker Eddy from within her own spiritual frame of reference, and also to see what made her message so persuasive to others. Through a close study of her early writings, he makes it unmistakably clear for the first time that she was a woman of strikingly original, searching, and probing mind - not the plagiarist some have alleged her to be. He analyzes Eddy's explanation of the existence of evil in her theory of "malicious animal magnetism," and he discusses her ideas about the nature of spiritual prophecy, and the role of dreams and visions. Through the stories of Church members - including many who knew her personally - Thomas examines her relationships with her followers, and he shows us the complexities, inconsistencies, and ambiguities of her personality, as well as the richness and depth of her character. Throughout this study, we are able to see Mary Baker Eddy in the context of her late-Victorian world, and we see the ways in which her life and movement reaffirmed America's most cherished Protestant middle-class values and myths while at the same time directly challenging and disturbing the conventional thought of her time.

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