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One of many books written by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science. The book is the complete Christian Science textbook, and teaches how healing can be performed, and that sickness is only mortal error. The book contains the main concept of Christian Science, which is best stated by quoting the actual text. What follows is on page 468 of S&H in a chapter entitled Recapitulation:

Question - What is the scientific statement of being?
Answer - There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth, matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefor man is not material; he is spiritual.

The words Mind, Spirit, All, and Truth are capitalized because they are all different names for God.

Science and Health
with Key to the Scriptures

It is, among other things, a selective interpretation of Scripture (or the Bible; thus "key to the Scriptures"), more specifically the King James version. It focuses primarily on the New Testament and the teachings of Jesus, with liberal references to many sections of the Old Testament as well.

The final version (the text of which is still published today) was copyrighted in 1875 by "Mary Baker Glover", both a widow and divorcee at the time. Subsequently, she met and married Asa Gilbert Eddy, becoming Mary Baker Eddy. 1

Yaounde is quite correct in saying that Science & Health is best understood by hearing it directly; however, Mrs. Eddy was a very literate woman, and wrote at some length on every point, while chapter delineations are comparatively few. It is, therefore, difficult to take quotes from the book entirely in context. Like so many religious texts, its words are open to a great many interpretations.

In the chapter titled "Marriage", she writes:

After marriage, it is too late to grumble over incompatibility of disposition. A mutual understanding should exist before this union and continue ever after, for deception is fatal to happiness. (59:23)

Separation never should take place, and it never would, if both husband and wife were genuine Christian Scientists. (59:31)

On the subject of the physical body, she states:

Our Master [Jesus] declared that his material body was not spirit, evidently considering it a mortal and material belief of flesh and bones (352:5)

To Jesus, not materiality, but spirituality, was the reality of man's existence (352:8)

Are the protests of Christian Science against the notion that there can be material life, substance, or mind "utter absurdities," as some aver? Why then do Christians try to obey the Scriptures and war against "the world, the flesh, and the devil"? Why do they invoke divine aid to enable them to leave all for Christ, Truth? (354:1)

These quotes highlight some high points of the essential philosophy contained in the book, although (as with any interpretive text) there can be a great deal more complexity when studying the material itself.

A few interesting gramatical choices that may be of interest to the reader follow. When referring to her concept of God, she uses seven words interchangeably (the "seven synonymns": Life, Truth, Love, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Principle), but only when those words are capitalized, otherwise they refer to the so-called "material" equivalent. She also defines "Jesus" the man (Our Master, the Great Prophet, etc) and "Christ" the Spirit as seperate concepts, not as one and the same, a philosophically interesting twist.

As a final theological point, the book does not refer to a literal "devil" or "satan", but rather "mortal mind", a kind of globally communal spiritual ignorance.

There are no reliable sources of information on the topic online - at least, none that I am familiar with. There are Christian Science "Reading Rooms", a sort of library for religious materials, scattered across the US, where theoretically private study is welcomed, although the true privacy may vary from area to area, and the book itself is available in many major bookstores.

1 Facts regarding Mrs. Eddy's life drawn from The New Colombia Encyclopedia, Columbia University Press, 1975

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