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The Founding of Christian Science: The Life of Mary Baker Eddy (1888-1900) (The Womanhood of God Series Vol. 2) Paperback – December 28, 2011
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beginning in the 19th Century, and still being practiced now with phenomenal grace and success. Much information has been held back and is now available in this biography, the second of a series of three. These three books are the best
biographies out there on Mary Baker Eddy for the sincere thinker.
From the point of view of Christian Science, this is the best three volume biography of Mrs. Eddy written to date. Unlike the Peel biographies with their secular bent and attempts to paint Mrs. Eddy as no more than a very significant historical figure, Grekel starts where Rober Peel left off and thoroughly explains the spiritual identity and significance of the discover and founder of Christian Science. For Grekel, unlike Peel, Mrs. Eddy represents the human manifestation in the flesh of the the 2nd Coming of Christ found in Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy is seen by Grekel as fufilling both Old and New Testament prophecy from Isaiah to the Gospels of the promised revelator of the Comforter. To Grekel, Mrs. Eddy's spiritual identity is to be found in Revelation as the Woman of Prophecy and only those Christian Scientists that can see this are the "remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.Rev 12:17. It is clear that the authoress, Doris Grekel and co-author Morris are obviously writing wholly from the standpoint of convinced disciples of Mrs. Eddy. Doris makes no apologies for that approach.
While many from within and without the Christian Science movement will disagree with both Grekel's approach and her credentials, few readers will deny that this book is nothing short of a loving "Ode" to Mrs. Eddy. Dr. Robert Putnam, a student of Bliss Knapp, has described this book in a short review of books on Mrs. Eddy and Christian Science as a "flawless account". Others will decry it for a lack of historical objectivity and as a thinly veiled attack on the current and past management of the very church Mrs. Eddy founded, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston Mass.
If it is widely read inside the Christian Science movement, it will be sure to be highly controversial. CS folks who condemned the re-publication of Bliss Knapp's book, The Destiny of the Mother Church, will condemn all three volumes of this trilogy for the same reasons. To say that this book almost deifies Mrs. Eddy is an understatement. There is no attempt to portray her human failings as the recent Gill bio did. This and the other two books take the exact OPPOSITE of the Peel and Gill approach. Hence, while many of the "true believers" will love these three books, the historical so-called professional critics of Mrs. Eddy will decry it as "not objective and not even foot noted" and Mrs. Eddy's traditional orthodox "Christian" enemies will denounce it as Christian Science carried to both theologically and logically indefensible and absurd conclusions. Nevertheless, these books may have to wait centuries until they, like Science and health will be accepted by a wider audience. I think Grekel would agree with this assessment. That few Year 2000 readers would understand much less appreciate the import of this, the first book the Grekel's trilogy is no surprise from the standpoint of Christian Science theology. "the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." John 1:5. Also "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor 2:14
In short, if you love Mrs. Eddy you will probably find much "new" information in these books. The Grekels ably use early CS literature, the CS Weekly - later Sentinel and the Journal of CS, later CS Journal to trace both Mrs. Eddy's thought as well as the growth of her church. They also bring to light much correspondence between Mrs. Eddy and her students and church officers. Unfortunately the book would be more helpful if it had footnoting of the Peel works. The Grekels rely on published and unpublished memoirs and reminiscences of early students of CS to support their intrepretation.
The issue of the Mrs. Eddy's intent in the continuation of the Mother Church following her passing is explored. It is plain however, that the Grekels are NOT at all 100% subscribers of the "Mother Church, A Church Meant to Last" or the "Permanancy of the Mother Church" (Adam Dickey CSJ Article et al) view. They come down more along the lines of the Helen Wrights, the CS Research Foundation and others in their insistence that the CS Board of Directors ignored and disobeyed what they call the "Estoppel Clauses" or those clauses in the Manual of the Mother Church requiring Mrs. Eddy's express consent. The Grekels ignore that this view was the decided minority view after Mrs. Eddy's passing.
I suggest a reader withhold judgement until finishing all three books. While I found them a very interesting source of information for the advanced CS metaphysician, I would not recommend them for the general public at all.
A reader is encouraged to read the primary sources on Christian Science, the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the Manual of the Mother Church. Other works such as Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896 and the First Church of Christ, Scientist & Miscellany which traces the building of her beloved church and selected correspondence until her passing in December 1910. All the published writings other than Science and Health were collected in what is called "Prose Works".
This biographical series about Mary Baker Eddy is by all means the best ever written about Mary Baker Eddy and every Christian Scientist should read this and the other two books which are part of the series. We owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to the writer. Thank you.