Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is a book written by Mary Baker Eddy which, together with the Christian Bible, is integral to Christian Science worship and practice. It was revised over the last two decades of her life, reaching its final form in 1907. Mary Baker Eddy first self-published the book, then entitled only Science and Health, in 1875, and continued revising it for more than three decades until closely before her death. Many sources overlook the importance of this book in its finalized form, dating from around 1907. It is well known as the foundational guidance for the Church of Christ, Scientist, but it is far more than that. It is a work of deep philosophical significance, wrestling to express concepts of duality vs. union, as taught by Jesus Christ and (in striking ways) similar to concepts taught by the Buddha. Its claim that prior interpretations of scripture through history frequently misunderstood important concepts is bound to stir up wrath in circles that consider themselves entitled to weigh in on the meaning of Christian scripture. Furthermore, for a woman to found a church and maintain control over it by definition was against prevailing social norms. Eddy biographer Gillian Gill wrote:
"...my central, and unexpected, conclusion was that both Christian Science loyalists and their opponents have attacked and avoided the book because it is too radical. The real issue is the author's audacity, her daring to think that a woman like her, with her resources, could write, not the expected textbook on mental healing techniques, not the comfortable compendium of healing anecdotes, but a book that takes on the great questions of God and man, good and evil, and that rejects orthodox verities."