"God is All-in all." "God is good." "God is Mind, and God is infinite; hence all is Mind." Christian Science develops its theology and its healing method from these simple, yet radical statements. The conclusions are that we are all perfect spiritual ideas of the one divine Mind, and manifest Spirit, not a material body. The five physical senses, which take no account of Spirit, are the origin of all false beliefs. Sickness is just a belief, not a property of matter, and it must be annihilated by the understanding of the divine Mind. Praying from this standpoint removes the belief and brings healing. This proves that this Science is correct, and that one has understood it.
The latest edition of the book consists of a short preface, the main section, a "Key to the Scriptures", and Fruitage. Some editions include a word index.
The main section is 500 pages long and comprises chapters titledPrayer
Atonement and Eucharist
Christian Science versus Spiritualism
Animal Magnetism Unmasked
Science, Theology, Medicine
Footsteps of Truth
Science of Being
Some Objections Answered
Christian Science Practice (which explains how healing is undertaken)
Teaching Christian Science
Recapitulation (the text used for class instruction in Christian Science healing).
This section is 100 pages long, and comprisesGenesis (a detailed analysis of the two versions of the creation story given in Genesis)
The Apocalypse (an analysis of parts of Revelation)
Glossary (giving the spiritual meaning of 114 Biblical terms)
This section consists of 84 testimonials of the healing power derived from reading the text in Science and Health. There are descriptions of addiction, asthma, broken bone, cataract, cancer, deafness, eczema, a fibroid tumor, and rheumatism. Prior intervention by physicians is mentioned in 50 of these cases, and one relates a confirmatory X-ray by a physician.
The first edition was copyrighted in 1875. The copyright for Science and Health went through several renewals including a posthumous renewal in 1934 by the Christian Science Board of Directors. At the request of the Christian Science Board of Directors, in December 1971 Congress passed a law extending the copyright on Science and Health by 75 years. However, following a legal suit brought by David James Nolan and Lucile J. Place of United Christian Scientists, the copyright extension was found unconstitutional in 1985 by Federal District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson. In 1987 the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the ruling of the district court. As a result, Science and Health has been in the public domain since 1987.
The first edition was printed by W F Brown & Co. Their invoice for 1000 copies, dated 30 October 1875, was made out to Geo. M Barry and Edward Hitchins for $2285.35. It consisted of 456 pages, plus 2 pages of errata. Unfortunately there were hundreds of typographic errors, some because the printer, not understanding the author's meaning, had tried to correct the wording without consulting her. The second edition, printed by Rand, Avery & Co, appeared in 1878, with 167 pages of new material. It was called "Science and Health Volume 2" to indicate that it was a supplement to the first edition, but it, too, was full of typographic errors. However the third edition, printed by John Wilson at the University Press in Cambridge was of a high standard. Twelve further two-volume editions followed, before the 16th edition appeared as a single volume in 1886. This edition of the book had 552 pages, plus an index of 38 pages, and "with Key to the Scriptures" had been added to the title. Mrs Eddy remained loyal to the University Press for the rest of her life, and in 1897 even made a substantial investment to save it from bankruptcy.
Mrs Eddy closed her college and left Boston in 1889, in order to revise the text for the 50th edition (1891). This consisted of 578 pages plus a 73-page index, and for the first time included marginal headings. The 226th "thousand" (edition) appeared in 1902, and this included "Fruitage," making up the page count of 700 pages which remains to this day. The last numbered edition was the 418th, which appeared in 1906, but further changes were made right up until 1910.
The German translation appeared in 1912. At Mrs. Eddy's insistence, the English text of each page was printed opposite the German translation. The same format was kept for the subsequent versions in other languages: Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.
During the 1990s, a trade edition was released which included an index and a banner headline "More than 10 million copies sold." This edition was intended for marketing through ordinary booksellers.
Science and Health encapsulates the teachings of Christian Science and Christian Scientists often call it their "textbook." At Sunday services, passages from the book are read along with passages from the Bible. Eddy called the two books Christian Science's "dual and impersonal pastor."