Christian Science on Trial
Religious Healing in America
Physicians exhibited an anxiety and tenacity to trivialize and control Christian Scientists which indicates a lack of confidence among the turn-of-the-century medical profession about who controlled American health care. The limited authority of the medical community becomes even clearer through Schoepflin's examination of the pitched battles fought by physicians and Christian Scientists in America's courtrooms and legislative halls over the legality of Christian Science healing. While the issues of medical licensing, the meaning of medical practice, and the supposed right of Americans to therapeutic choice dominated early debates, later confrontations saw the legal issues shift to matters of contagious disease, public safety, and children's rights. Throughout, Christian Scientists revealed their ambiguous status as medical practitioners and religious healers.
The 1920s witnessed an unsteady truce between American medicine and Christian Science. The ambivalence of many Americans about the practice of religious healing persisted, however. In Christian Science on Trial we gain a helpful historical context for understanding late–twentieth-century public debates over children's rights, parental responsibility, and the authority of modern medicine.
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"A densely researched narrative of how this unusual, but enduring, form of medicine and religion developed. Through detailed accounts of testimony given in various legal proceedings, Schoepflin captures—often in their own words—the flavor of exchanges between Christian Scientists and those in the emerging establishment of allopathic medicine."—New England Journal of Medicine
"Clearly written and well argued, Schoepflin's excellent study moves beyond the prescriptive literature-focused and Eddy-centered scholarship to show what practitioners and their patients did and thought near the turn of the century."—Choice
"This work is a significant contribution to our understanding of Christian Science. Where it breaks new ground is in its careful and dispassionate examination of the activities and challenges posed to ordinary Christian Science practitioners either during the lifetime of Mary Baker Eddy or thereafter."—Norman Gevitz, Ph.D., Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine
"Provides a remarkably readable and balanced account of Christian Science healing, from the evolving theories of Mary Baker Eddy to the bedside and dispensary practices of her followers. Drawing on fresh sources, including courtroom testimony, Schoepflin for the first time opens the door to the workaday world of Christian Science practitioners."—Ronald L. Numbers, Hilldale and William Coleman Professor, University of Wisconsin—Madison
Other Titles in MEDICAL / History
Other Titles in History of medicine