Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,
written by Mary Baker Eddy
was inspired by studies of the Bible
she undertook in 1867 following a healing experience.
Although Eddy claimed to have first privately published biblical studies as early as 1862 (Eddy, 1934 : pp. viii:24-32), she wrote that her discovery of Christian Science
, which inspired the book, took place in 1866.
The first edition was copyrighted in 1875 (Eddy, 1934 : 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, 1934 : p. ii).
1971 to date
In 1971, at the urging of two Christian Scientists in the Richard Nixon
administration, John Ehrlichman
and H.R. Haldeman
, Congress extended the copyright on Science and Health
by 75 years. Following a legal suit brought by Dr. David James Nolan of United Christian Scientists, this was found "offensively" unconstitutional in 1987 (MBE Institute, 2000), and private distributions have subsequently appeared.
In Public Domain
"Science and Health" has been in the public domain since 1987.
During the 1990s, which saw other controversies including the attempted media ventures of the Christian Science Publishing Society
and the publication of The Destiny of The Mother Church
, a trade edition was released which included an index and an unprecedented introduction by a church director. This unusual edition was marketed outside of the historical channels of individual distribution and Christian Science Reading Rooms
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 our experience.
The book has three sections. The main section, which makes up the bulk of the book, comprises the first 500 pages. The second section, "Key to the Scriptures", examines parts of Genesis
and provides a Glossary of Eddy's metaphysical interpretations of commonly-used terms from the Bible. The final section, the last 100 pages, are testimonies of people who claim to have "been reformed and healed through the perusal or study of (the) book" (Eddy, 1934 : p. 600:4-5).
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."
The titles of the chapters are:
- Atonement and Eucharist
- Christian Science versus Spiritualism
- Animal Magnetism Unmasked
- Science, Theology, Medicine
- Footsteps of Truth
- Science of Being
- Some Objections Answered
- Christian Science Practice
- Teaching Christian Science
- The Apocalypse
ResourcesEddy, Mary Baker Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures
. The Christian Science Board of Directors.
The Constitution and the Christian Science Textbook
. Mary Baker Eddy Institute. Retrieved on 2006-10-15..
Brosang, Ernest J. A Christian Science Library: A Descriptive and Extended Bibliography
. privately printed.