Dr. Brad Stock is the Harding Mott II Distinguished Professor in the History of the Christian Science Movement. Earlier in his career, he served as manager of the History Department at The Mother Church and as special researcher for The Christian Science Board of Directors.
Dr. Stock teaches the college course on the life of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. This class has been a popular, demanding, and inspiring course for the many students who have taken it in the past. Rather than reading straight through one biography of Mary Baker Eddy, students are asked to read multiple accounts of specific events in Mrs. Eddy’s life.
“I’ve really appreciated how [Dr. Stock] has pulled together what he feels are the most relevant or problematic parts of the various biographies,” says Kristen Rosen (C’11). “He’s having us compare them and try to sort through what seems accurate.”
When possible, Stock steers the students toward primary source material. He also encourages them to be alert to a biographer’s bias. “He doesn’t tell us what to think,” explains Rosen. “He just gives us an array of maybe six documents about an event and has us read them. Then we talk about what we think. It draws out our own thoughts.”
Projects early in the semester require students to research and give presentations on topics relevant to the time period during which Mrs. Eddy lived, topics like the Civil War or spiritualism. By contrast, presentations and papers late in the semester require students to add layers of complexity.
“The final paper is solidly academic, but hopefully by that point it’s very inspired as well,” says Stock, who emphasizes spiritualization of thought and character education.
“The course has made everything I read in Science and Health more concrete,” Rosen concludes. “Once you learn about the things [Mary Baker Eddy] went through, you can see them blatantly coming through in Science and Health. Every statement she makes in Science and Health is not just theory. It’s her saying, ‘I had this problem and I applied this truth and it worked.’”
Dr. Stock also teaches a seminar on the history of the Christian Science movement.