About the Annotated Bibliography of Christian Science

The ABCS Project
A book and online application providing information about academic and other resources on Christian Science.

For many decades, scholars have requested better access to information on the Christian Science movement and its history. In 1948, Henry Steiger remarked, “Even if we expect a scholar to pass correct judgment on a subject within his field of investigation, we cannot expect him to gather this information without assistance. The Christian Science movement cannot expect fair treatment of its doctrine unless from its own ranks efforts are made to lay the necessary groundwork.” Thirty-four years later, Martin Marty tried again: “Until Christian Science leaders open their archives, they will have to content themselves with speculative works of this sort.”

Finally, in 2002, over ninety years after the (1910) death of Mary Baker Eddy, the leader of the Christian Science movement, the Archives of the Christian Science Church were made available to the public with the opening of The Mary Baker Eddy Library.

And yet again, about five years ago, Dr. J. Gordon Melton, Distinguished Professor of American Religious History of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University, suggested to us that it was still difficult to find a broad range of academic research and resource material on the history of Christian Science. “Biographies on Mary Baker Eddy are plentiful,” he said. “But the history of Christian Science is still obscure and difficult to track down. An annotated bibliography would enable scholars to find appropriate resources for their research, and this scholarly research would accomplish much toward a better understanding of this important religious movement.”

— From the introduction to An Annotated Bibliography of Academic and Other Literature on Christian Science. Click to access the book’s introduction here, in pdf format. Read Dr. Melton’s article, “But It’s Just a Bibliography,” here on the ABCS blog.

Three women—Shirley Paulson, Helen Mathis, and Linda Bargmann—understood immediately why Dr. Melton’s words were true. 

Shirley Paulson in particular had represented the Christian Science Church in a number of public venues, and holds a PhD in religion and theology. Her public speaking engagements often took place within the context of New Religious Movements studies. These experiences made her acutely aware of how difficult it can be for scholars to find available materials.

The front cover of the book An Annotated Bibliography of Academic and Other Literature on Christian Science
Phase One of the Project — The Book

The first phase of the project began with research into the resources available, followed by assembling a group of experts to read hundreds of books and articles and write annotations for each of them.

Eventually satisfied they had identified and annotated a sufficiently representative collection of important publications, Paulson, Mathis and Bargmann began preparing the bibliography for publication. 

A GoFundMe campaign raised enough to cover the costs associated with the book’s publication and distribution.  An Annotated Bibliography of Academic and Other Literature on Christian Science became available in 2021, coinciding with the bicentennial of Mary Baker Eddy’s birth.

The book was widely distributed to hundreds of seminary and university libraries, as well as individual researchers, scholars and ecumenical leaders. It is available for purchase (on this website only), while supplies last.

Phase Two of the Project — The Website and Search Application

Knowing that the Annotated Bibliography would remain relevant only if it could expand to include new resources as they became available, phase two of the project, creation of an Annotated Bibliography web app, began immediately following the book’s publication. The new online version of the Bibliography allows the creators to extend the depth, breadth, and accessibility of the work in a global and ongoing way.

A nonprofit, 501(c)(3), corporation, Scholarly Works on Christian Science, was created to oversee this project. Donations are always welcome and are used to support the ongoing costs of maintaining and expanding of the new website and online search application. Click here to donate via PayPal.

The website builds on the book’s usefulness by adding a unique search function designed to make finding Christian Science academic and other resources quick and intuitive for students, teachers, researchers and lay persons alike.

Additional annotations were added to the new web application before it went live, bringing the total number of annotated Christian Science resources available close to 500. Annotations will continue to be added as new Christian Science resources become available.

There are several ways users can support the ongoing availability of the Annotated Bibliography web app.  Please visit the “Support ABCS” page to learn how you can help.

A woman working on her computer at her desk in her office

Knowing that the Annotated Bibliography would remain relevant only if it could expand to include new resources as they became available, phase two of the project, creation of an Annotated Bibliography web app, began immediately following the book’s publication. The new online version of the Bibliography allows the creators to extend the depth, breadth, and accessibility of the work in a global and ongoing way.

A woman working on her computer at her desk in her office

A nonprofit, 501(c)(3), corporation, Scholarly Works on Christian Science, was created to oversee this project. Donations are always welcome and are used to support the ongoing costs of maintaining and expanding of the new website and online search application. Click here to donate via PayPal.

The website builds on the book’s usefulness by adding a unique search function designed to make finding Christian Science academic and other resources quick and intuitive for students, teachers, researchers and lay persons alike.

Additional annotations were added to the new web application before it went live, bringing the total number of annotated Christian Science resources available close to 500. Annotations will continue to be added as new Christian Science resources become available.

There are several ways users can support the ongoing availability of the Annotated Bibliography web app.  Please visit the “Support ABCS” page to learn how you can help.

Compilers, Annotators and Contributors

Three women are the primary creators of An Annotated Bibliography of Academic and Other Literature on Christian Science.

Shirley Paulson, PhD

Shirley Paulson

Primary Compiler and Annotator

Shirley Paulson holds a PhD in Religion and Theology from the University of Birmingham (UK). 

Paulson has worked for The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, MA, in the capacities of Head of Ecumenical Affairs, Board of Lectureship, Committee on Publication for Illinois, Regional Monitor Circulation Manager, and Christian Science practitioner.

Shirley has published book chapters and articles in academic journals, and her first book, which focuses on the extracanonical text The Secret Revelation of John, will be published in 2022.

Helen Mathis

Helen Mathis

Primary Compiler and Annotator

Helen Mathis has an MA in Biblical Studies and Christian History from the Pacific School of Religion (part of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA).

She spent three years as Director for the Center for Scriptural Studies in Manchester Center, VT, followed by three years teaching religion at Principia College.

Helen was the managing editor of a Bible study curriculum project and has actively presented Bible workshops around the country for the past 20 years.

Linda Bargmann

Linda Bargmann

Primary Compiler and Annotator

Linda Bargmann is a Christian Science researcher and a retired Certified Public Accountant. She has been involved with Bible study organizations for Christian Scientists for 30 years.

Linda has researched early Christian Science history since The Mary Baker Eddy Library opened, giving presentations to Christian Science churches across the country.

Her collection of about 2,000 books provided a foundation for the Annotated Bibliography.
Specialized Contributors
Sharon-Lee (Sher) Orpen

Annotation Formatting and Editing

Alan Galt

Book Copy Editor

Jean Perkins

Book Copy Editor

Christine Negley

Book Copy Editor

Lē Isaac Weaver

Website and Online Search App

Annotation Contributors
Bonnie Abiko, PhD
Richard Davenport, MTS
Alan Galt, PhD
Michael Hamilton, PhD
Barry Huff, PhD
Susan E. Humble, PhD
Susan Jostyn, MTS
Julia Lunn
 
William Marquand, AIA
Madelon Maupin, MTS
Keith McNeil
Mark Montgomery, MA
Carolyn Petersen
Stan Scott, PhD
Philip Smith, PhD
A decorative divider made of green lines that form a cross made of diamond shapes in the middle
“Periods and peoples are characterized by their highest or their lowest ideals, by their God and their devil. We are all sculptors, working out our own ideals, and leaving the impress of mind on the body as well as on history and marble, chiselling to higher excellence, or leaving to rot and ruin the mind’s ideals.”
 
Mary Baker Eddy, The People’s Idea of God—Its Effect on Health and Christianity