Mrs. Eddy's use of the word...


[Lt.-Col. Robert E. Key, District Manager of Committees on Publication for Great Britain and Ireland, in the Guardian, London]

Mrs. Eddy's use of the word "emeritus" is mentioned by a correspondent in a letter which appeared in a recent issue. Mrs. Eddy was very particular in her use of words. She undoubtedly used the word "emeritus" in its correct signification. According to Webster's New International Dictionary, 1934 edition, the word "emeritus" is derived from a Latin verb meaning "to obtain by service, to merit, to earn." If Mrs. Eddy intended to convey the idea of merit in the title "Pastor Emeritus" she was correct in her choice of the word.

In the early days of Christian Science Mrs. Eddy permitted personal preaching, and she was the first pastor of the first Christian Science church for which a charter was obtained. Later, however, she ordained the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," as the only pastor of her church. The title "Pastor Emeritus" would therefore be the best by which to convey the idea of merit and of service honorably performed. This again is in consonance with the definition in the Oxford Dictionary, as quoted by your correspondent, which conveys the idea of discharge from service honorably performed.

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