Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

From Academic Kids

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, written by Mary Baker Eddy, is the foundation of the Christian Science movement.

Its origin lay in notes growing out of biblical studies she undertook beginning in 1867 following a healing experience she reported in 1866. The first edition appeared in 1875 and went through over two hundred revisions before Eddy's death in 1910.

Science and Health encapsulates the teachings of Christian Science. Christian Scientists often call it their "textbook." At Sunday services, passages from Science and Health are read from the lectern along with complementary passages from the Bible. Eddy called the two books Christian Science's "dual and impersonal pastor."

The book itself posits a wholly metaphysical view of Christianity in which sin, disease, and death are not of God, and are therefore not real. Christian Scientists believe that by striving toward a spiritual view of the world as God's creation, they can overcome the "false beliefs" of these adversities.

The copyright for Science and Health went through several renewals. In 1972, at the urging of two Christian Scientists in the Nixon administration, Congress dramatically extended the copyright on it, effectively reserving it exclusively to the church, but this was later found unconstitutional, and private distributions have appeared through entities such as the Aequus Institute.

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.

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