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Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Authority Hardcover – June, 1991


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 535 pages
  • Publisher: Writings of Mary Baker Eddy (June 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875101429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875101422
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.3 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,154,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 11, 1998
Mary Baker Eddy was a controversial woman, and biographers often either laud or vilify her depending on their personal bias. Peel's 3-volume biography is a welcome departure from this pattern. His work is carefully researched, with extensive references, and is probably the most definitive and complete biography of Mrs. Eddy on record. His impartial, objective viewpoint lets the reader make up his or her own mind regarding a noted religious and historical figure.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tobin Sparfeld on September 14, 2006
Yes! I've finished the three-part Peel series! Peel's biographies are seen by many as the most complete and definitive account of Mary Baker Eddy's life. This is for good reason - Peel had some of the best access to documents regarding Mrs. Eddy, conducted some of the most thorough research, and had the most to say. While Peel is a Christian Scientist, non-Christian Scientists can enjoy these books.

I have read several other Mary Baker Eddy biographies, and feel these volumes, as well as the Gillian Gill tome, are in a class by themselves concerning the story of Mary Baker Eddy's life. Gill seems to be more concerned with the trials Mrs. Eddy had to face, especially the Next Friends suit. Neither have any glaring omissions, but Peel seems to focus more on Mrs. Eddy's vision of transforming her discovery of Christian Science into an international denomination and beyond. This makes sense - as a Christian Scientist, Peel is more concerned than Gill with the saga of Christian Science and how it is entwined with Mrs. Eddy's history.

While Peel may be slightly more sympathetic with Mrs. Eddy than Gill, neither one biographer provides a whitewash of her travails. While this is the most exciting volume of Peel's three volumes, I would not recommend one picking up the book right here. One would do much better to start at the beginning (The Years of Trial), slow as is may be. You'll enjoy it once it really starts to pick up.
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In this final volume, Peel details the rise of Christian Science as a movement and church in its home city of Boston and throughout the U.S. and world. It shows Eddy as tireless in her support of the church's growth and takes us to the end of her life in 1910 at age 90. We see the building of the Mother Church in Boston, further editions of "Science and Health," conflicts with students that ran off the tracks of her theology, and how she triumphed over all obstacles in assuring that her church would endure without her when the time came. Though the church seems on a downward slope in the 21st century, many feel that the huge crowds that made it possible for massive churches to be built all over the U.S. were so often just people responding to a fad, and falling away when the chips were down. There is a sense of rebuilding now and a lot of people are reconsidering Eddy's life and the deeper meaning of her healing mission to the world. These three volumes are an invaluable aide in understanding how it all came to be.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Laura Alethea on January 16, 2012
If there are large numbers of "Christian Scientists" agreeing with the reviewer who called this biography "definitive", it explains a lot.

This is a very subtle, misleading downgrading of Mary Baker Eddy and it ought to be seen for what it is. It misrepresents her motives and humanizes her demonstration of the Christ, which is actually a contradiction in terms. Actually the word "negates" comes to mind in connection with what it actually tries to do. The Bible is very clear that the "human" must be "swallowed up" by the divine. (St. Paul).

Paul Smillie, in his book, "A Defense of Mary Baker Eddy and the Remnant of Her Seed" makes some good points regarding what is wrong with this book. (That does not mean I agree with everything he says in that book.)

For what it is worth, (and I don't think it's worth much even if it is true), it is reported that this third volume of the Peel trilogy was ghost-written by someone other than Robert Peel.

And as far as misrepresenting Mrs. Eddy's motives, the prime example is the idea conveyed in this book that she saw her mission to be, to found a HUMAN ORGANIZATION that would last forever.

Nice little piece of back-stabbing propaganda promoting ecclesiasticism and its attendant tyranny.
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 9, 2000
I read this biography in college. I was able to draw several conclusions from the chapters. Chapter 1. A scandal would harm her adopted son. Chapter 2. A really good leader can attract a lot of admirers. Chapter 3. By not trying to outdo others, she created a very tolerant church. Chapter 4. A Concord newspaper owner thought Mary Baker Eddy was a fake. Political Interlude. To introduce Christian Science on Mainland China was dangerous. Chapter 5. The establishment of the Committee on Publication was greatly needed at the time of a court case that was filled with propaganda against her church. Chapter 6. Teachers and readers in the East would be better off if they had solid learning and culture. Interlude Semantic. A mistaken metaphysical concept is a topic at a meeting with Governors of the church. Chapter 7. She said much work needed to be done. Chapter 8. She decided that the Mother Church reader should become the reader at the Concord church. Chapter 9. She immediately was sure Einstein had made a great discovery. Chapter 10. She thinks it is vital for anyone to demonstrate this Science. At times while reading the biography I was reminded of the period in history when German scholars inspired Charles Briggs to question the authorship of the Bible, the biblical account of Creation, and the divinity of Jesus.
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