Friday, April 3, 2009

Emma Curtis Hopkins: "The Teacher of Teachers"

Another important New Thought teacher is Emma Curtis Hopkins. Her biography and book list is below. She was a scholar and a mystic with a deep understanding of the teaching and drew her knowledge and understanding from literary classics as well as from sacred texts. She began as a Christian Scientist and went on to become a teacher to the founders of today's New Thought churches - Unity, Religious Science and Divine Science. - Rev. Cheryl

Emma Curtis Hopkins

Emma Curtis Hopkins was born in 1853 and died in 1925.

She is called “the teacher of teachers” in the New Thought movement. Among her students were Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, founders of the Unity School of Christianity, H. Emilie Cady, author of the Unity textbook "Lessons in Truth," Ernest Holmes, founder of the Church of Religious Science, Malinda E. Cramer, co-founder of Divine Science, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, New Thought poet, as well as Frances Lord, Annie Rix-Militz, George Edwin, and Elizabeth Town.

She is also known for authoring the classics High Mysticism and Scientific Christian Mental Practice and for founding her own seminary in Chicago which was an incorporated school turning out ordained ministers recognized by the State of Illinois.

Mrs. Hopkins showed herself early to be a gifted scholar and teacher. Before she was fifteen years old, she entered Woodstock Academy in Connecticut as a student and because of her genius was given a place on the faculty as a teacher. Later in life she returned to being a student, studying Christian Science with Mary Baker Eddy and serving as editor of the “Christian Science Journal” until she went independent in 1885. Her thirst for delving deeper into the meanings of the Bible and exploring other sacred books led her to leave Christian Science which relied solely on the Bible and Mrs. Eddy’s text, Science and Health.

Mrs. Hopkins learned many of the original languages of the Bible so that she could read the text in its original languages, thereby capturing the nuances of meaning lost in inaccurate translations.

She became an independent teacher, and soon drew large numbers wherever she taught, including New York, Chicago, Kansas and San Francisco. She touched her students with the quickening power of her illumined mind enabling them to carry the message of healing and comfort to others.

She eventually settled in Chicago where she founded the highly successful Emma Hopkins College of Metaphysical Science which had a significant impact on advancing women in this field. Out of 22 individuals at the first graduation ceremony in 1889, 20 were women.

Not only did her school encourage women to take leadership roles, but Mrs. Hopkins actually based her theology on an interpretation of the Trinity based on ideas initiated by Joachim of Fiore. His ideas stated that there were three eras in the history of this traditional trio. The first was the patriarchal idea of "God the Father", the second was a time of freedom for the general population which was signified by the birth of Jesus, and the third, "the Spirit, the Truth-Principle, or the Mother-Principle," focused on the power of women. The latter element of this interpretation of the Trinity was embodied by the pioneering roles which each of these women had in helping to even the playing field of the genders.

Mrs. Hopkins lived until 1925. After her death her sister Estelle Carpenter took over, aided by a teacher, Eleanor Mel. Miss Ethelred Folsom, who had studied with Mrs. Hopkins and had accompanied her on a trip to Europe, set up an organization to perpetuate Mrs. Hopkins' influence. People were invited to attend classes in Mrs. Hopkins' teachings; her works were published and distributed under the name "The Ministry of the High Watch."

"High Mysticism" is Emma Curtis Hopkins' masterpiece, and is one of the greatest of all works based on mysticism. "When the Lord is your confidence you will never find yourself at all deceived by the ways and speech of men and women, though they be very brilliant, if they speak outside of the Principle that demonstrates healing and goodness and life."

Her books include:

High Mysticism
Resume (the practice book for High Mysticism)
Scientific Christian Mental Practice
Bible Interpretations (1891)
Class Lessons of 1888
The Gospel Series
Emma Curtis Hopkins: Forgotten Founder of New Thought
Unveiling Your Hidden Power: Emma Curtis Hopkins' Metaphysics for the 21st Century

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