This thesis explores definitions of health, illness and healing among members of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Wooster, Ohio. Having found previous literature on Christian Science lacking in ethnographic description, participant observation was conducted at 19 church services between September and December of 1993. In addition, I completed six open-ended interviews with members of the church in November and December of 1993. Results showed that Christian Scientists reject illness as a reality, blame their own faulty thinking as the source of illness, and define health in terms of having peace of mind, living harmoniously and thinking in line with God. These concepts are based on the Biblical idea that people were made in the image and likeness of God and are, therefore, perfectly spiritual like God. These beliefs and other aspects of Christian Science are examined through feminist and ethnomedical studies. Further research might include an exploration of concepts such as death, immortality, and gender roles in the church.


Frese, Pamela


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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© Copyright 1994 Sarah L. Prince