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Rolling Away the Stone is a richly detailed account of the last two decades of the life of Mary Baker Eddy, a major religious thinker whose character and achievement are just beginning to be understood. This is the first book-length discussion of Eddy to make full use of the resources of the Mary Baker Eddy Collection in Boston. It focuses on her long-range legacy as a Christian thinker, specifically her challenge to the materialism that continues to threaten religious belief and practice in our time.
Hoping to retire in 1889 after seven turbulent years founding the Christian Science movement, Eddy believed the demands upon her would ease. Instead, during the 1890s and 1900s, she entered into the most active and fruitful period of her long life, becoming a nationally and even internationally known figure. The radical character of Eddys teaching, together with her position as a woman religious leader in a male-dominated society, aroused storm clouds of controversy that have continued to swirl around her memory today. The book opens with an account of the critical point in this controversy when her very sanity was challenged in a litigation that became one of the first media events of the 20th century.
Stephen Gottschalk also traces the fascinating relation between Eddys encounter with the problem of evil in the first half of her life and how Mark Twain, her best-known adversary, faced the same issue during his later years. Gottschalk then explores how Eddys challenge to materialism shaped her response to a series of crises that arose as she brought her lifes work to completion. This is a sensitive and serious biography of an important figure in American religious history.
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