Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, was one of the most famous religious figures of the late nineteenth century, eliciting harsh criticism even as she gained thousands of followers. The influence of sentimental Christianity has largely been ignored in work on her rhetoric, excluding her from the long tradition of female preaching in the nineteenth century. Rather than an outlier to this tradition, Eddy institutionalized sentimental Christianity in her new church with significant implications for women’s rhetorical authority. This paper ultimately argues that Eddy reconstituted the institutions that had defined the order of discourse of mid-century sentimental Christianity—building on them but likewise transforming them to suit her belief that matter was not real. It was this rejection of the pulpit and the masculine body that inhabited it that drew women from the churches of their childhood and validated their roles as advocates and leaders in the new denomination.
|Number of pages||25|
|Journal||Journal for the History of Rhetoric|
|State||Published - 2021|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Society for the History of Rhetoric.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics
- Literature and Literary Theory
- Linguistics and Language