Christian Science : an American religion in Britain, 1895-1940
This thesis seeks to show the acceptance of Christian Science, an American healing religion, in British society, c.1895-1940. It has two primary aims. The first is to chart the progress and growth of the movement in London and some provincial towns and cities up to the First World War; the second concentrates on reaction, both from the British public at large and the specific areas of society most affected by its claims: the Anglican Church and the medical profession. The second of these aims has been given more importance. Responses in religious and secular newspapers and published works, and accounts in the main journal of the movement which illustrate problems faced by early Christian Scientists in Britain have therefore been given throughout the chapters on establishment and expansion. Although background information is given, the thesis does not attempt detailed analyses regarding the doctrine and organization of the movement, nor does it seek to provide precise details with regard to the numbers of churches and adherents. It has drawn on an existing body of sociological scholarship into these questions to provide a basis for its different concerns. Starting from a discussion on background influences and a brief history and explanation of Christian Science within its American context, subsequent sections explore the progress of the American "missionaries" of the movement and the earliest British membership, discuss public reaction to its growth and to the opening of various churches, and analyze the social composition of the British following, including a social and political elite. The more farreaching responses from the affected establishment groups mentioned above, constitute the core of the thesis. Finally, two chapters analyzing public reaction in the realm of jokes, cartoons and novels have been included, while an appendix exploring the widening outreach of Christian Science-type ideas in the form of New Thought, concludes the thesis.