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Virginia Lieson Brereton praises Susan Hill Lindley's work "You Have Stept Out of Your Place": A History of Women and Religion in America-rightly, I think-for "comprehensiveness, . . . sophistication, care, and clarity"
[Nov./Dec.]. But I am puzzled at the shortchanging of the story of Mary Baker Eddy, both in Lindley's book and Brereton's review. In the book, Eddy and Christian Science rate only three pages in a work of well over 400-surprisingly light treatment given her life and legacy.
I'll confess up front that I'm a Christian Scientist, but I don't think that disqualifies my comments. Eddy is one of only two or three founders of lasting religious movements indigenous to America.
Many have disagreed-and fairly so-with her methods and conclusions, but at least she deserves to be heard. Scholars who follow the lead of Lindley and Brereton should challenge themselves to explore more deeply, and thoroughly, what Eddy has left behind.
Clifton Neil Irby
Stone Mountain, Ga.
Philip Gleason's excellent review of David Hollinger's Postethnic America: Beyond Multiculturalism [Nov/Dec.] inspires me to hope that, contrary to what is usually heard from writers and pundits, we may be approaching a time of heightened civility in the public debate over "multiculturalism." While Gleason seems overly sanguine in assuming that "the crusading aura has definitely faded," a voice like Hollinger's introduces some welcome sanity in the midst of the so-called culture wars-a burdensome designation that has become little more than a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The three issues Gleason highlights at the end of his essay as needing further systematic reflection in future treatments of multiculturalism-the role of women's studies and gender theory in the academy, the problems with Hollinger's concept of "cosmopolitanism," and the increasing dilemmas of affirmative action-are strikingly on target. It is interesting to observe that Gleason elaborates the second and third of these while taking a hands-off ...