Was this woman capable of her own independent thinking?
Mary Baker Eddy claimed her book Science and Health to be “hopelessly original.” She was always careful about copyright issues in her work as an author, and it took her many decades of effort before her ideas became popular and her book a bestseller. So why has there been any questioning at all during the past century and a half over whether Eddy came up with the ideas she promoted throughout her career? It’s a long story. So long, in fact, that author Keith McNeil has devoted 1,500 pages to the telling, in meticulous detail, of this history of claims and counterclaims in his monumental work A Story Untold: A History of the Quimby-Eddy Debate. And this is only part 1! There’s much more to this story remaining to be told in a future part 2, according to McNeil.
At issue is the extent to which Eddy was influenced by her early mentor Phineas P. Quimby, and the extent to which Eddy influenced Quimby. They both were well known for their non-medical healing work during their own lifetimes, and they both continue to be well known today. But the reputation, credibility, and historical significance of each is tied to some degree to the questions over how they each did or did not influence the other. The debate has been going on for more than a century. As McNeil points out in his Introduction, in the past 25 years alone, about 30 books have been published which have included some discussion on this topic.
McNeil has spent more than 10 years researching this issue with laser-like focus in an attempt to finally answer these questions. A year ago, 150 years after the death of Quimby, he released his extensive research on the internet. Just recently he has released an updated Second Edition of this “part 1.”
McNeil’s A Story Untold can be read on his PPQuimby-MBEddyDebate.com website, or downloaded as PDF at no cost. Eventually McNeil plans to publish the 1,500-page book (or an abridged version) in a paper form. Perhaps, as McNeil’s work becomes known, studied, and considered by those with interest in Quimby or Eddy or both, this century-and-a-half Quimby-Eddy debate will finally be put to rest.