In regard to revisions of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health, here is a list of a few common statements heard, but followed by facts.
Statement: Mary Baker Eddy doesn’t want her words changed.
Facts: #1 In the Science and Health sold today by The Christian Science Publishing Society, Mary Baker Eddy’s words remains the same, minus a few words that were changed after her death by the Board of Directors of The First Church of Christ, Scientist. To change words in a book that claims Mary Baker Eddy as the sole author, without notifying the reader, changes Eddy’s words.
#2 A revision that notifies the reader of its author(s) names(s), and declares that the book is a revision of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health, does not change Eddy’s words, but leads the reader to Eddy’s words.
Statement: Mary Baker Eddy chose specific words to explain an exact meaning.
Fact: Words have multiple meanings. The use of a dictionary proves words are multifaceted. Words are material terms, or tools, used to shed light on infinite meaning.
Statement: Laziness contributes to the low readership of Science and Health as written by Mary Baker Eddy.
Fact: Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health was not written to enforce eccentric self-discipline. It was written to share healing ideas. Sufferers are not expected to adapt themselves to 19th century history and language in order to be inspired. “[L]ike all other languages, English is inadequate to the expression of spiritual conceptions and proposition, because one is obliged to use material terms in dealing with spiritual ideas.” (Science and Health, Eddy, page 349)
Statement: A revision is plagiarism.
Fact: Among other words, plagiarism is defined as theft, bootlegging, deception. Books that repeat Eddy’s words and ideas without crediting her, is plagiarism. (Note: Eddy’s Science and Health is often seen as a form of plagiarism because there is a lack of credits) Footnotes in revisions redeem Eddy’s work. Revisions that clearly state it is a revision of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health are honest, up-front, truthful, law-abiding, reliable, honorable, moral, and authentic.
Statement: Biographies on Mary Baker Eddy say Mrs. Eddy parted from people who thought they could improve on her book.
Fact: Biographies are human interpretations of human history. What happened one hundred years ago can’t be assumed as particular to a situation today, especially when the whole picture is not viewed. Eddy may have parted from someone who thought they could improve on her Science and Health, but there were also people she went to and listened to. “During many years the author has been most grateful for merited rebuke…” (Science and Health, Eddy, Page 9)
Statement: No one is qualified to translate or revise Science and Health.
Fact: God is not limited. Everyone can be qualified to revise (understand and express) Science and Health, because the ideas are available to everyone. Because God is infinite, the ideas can be infinitely expressed.
Statement: I love Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health.
Facts: You are one in 7 billion, or at most one of very very very few of the 7 billion people. Revisions are not about you. Revision are not about promoting one version of Science and Health. Revisions manifest the all-inclusiveness of God, Love, infinite individuality.
Statement: Real Christian Scientists read Mary Baker Eddy’s writings only.
Fact: Christian Scientists can’t be defined by the words they read. The pretense of loyalty to Mrs. Eddy focuses attention on personality, not principle. Great leaders want to be followed, not parroted. Great leaders want action, not adoration. Great leaders want us to think of others, not ourselves.
Statement: It is a big and serious question as to whether or not Mary Baker Eddy’s, Science and Health should be revised or translated into modern language.
Fact: Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health has already been revised. Out of respect to Mrs. Eddy, a revision was produced and published 5 years ago. It is now in its 4th edition because, “Spiritual ideas unfold as we advance…hence the many readings given the Scriptures, and the requisite revisions of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” (Science and Health, Eddy, page 361) Revisions are strange to the mind steeped in words, but there are those who welcome this stranger knocking at the door.
Statement: Reading Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health offers improved reading and word comprehension.
Fact: Readers of Science and Health are not interested in improving their reading and word comprehension. They are reading to further grasp spiritual ideas practical to the issues they are dealing with in the 21st Century.