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2012 Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza New Scholar Award First-Place Winner: Mary Baker Eddy, the Woman Question, and Christian Salvation: Finding a Consistent Connection by Broadening the Boundaries of Feminist Scholarship

Amy B. Voorhees
Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion
Vol. 28, No. 2 (Fall 2012), pp. 5-25
Published by: Indiana University Press on behalf of FSR, Inc
DOI: 10.2979/jfemistudreli.28.2.5
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/jfemistudreli.28.2.5
Page Count: 22
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2012 Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza New Scholar Award First-Place Winner: Mary Baker Eddy, the Woman Question, and Christian Salvation: Finding a Consistent Connection by Broadening the Boundaries of Feminist Scholarship
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Abstract

Numerous feminist studies about Mary Baker Eddy seek to explain what scholars have dubbed her “ambiguous feminism.” This article problematizes both terms in relation to Eddy's gendered theology and practice, instead focusing on the larger religious project within which her gendered work finds its seamless, unambiguous significance. I argue that Eddy's early, temporary use of the female pronoun for God, in context with her emphasis on Christian salvation, mirrors her relationship to the Woman Question as a whole: it is emphatic and radical, yet qualified and ultimately subsumed by her soteriology, not lost but included within it. Seeking to take Eddy seriously as a theologian, I investigate how her multivalent views on women's rights sit within her millennialist soteriology and compare the gendered aspects of her reforming theology to the work of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. This clarifies and contextualizes Eddy's seamless approach to the intersection of gender, religion, and reform.

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