In the mid 1800's, new philosophies were born through the work of Quimby, Emerson, Eddy, Thoreau and Whitman. These people were part of a group called the Transcendalists. They based their philosophy on the ancient idea of the law of correspondence or, in other words, as the microcosm reflect the macrocosm. They gathered together with the purpose of leaving the old ideas behind. This new philosophy proclaimed the dignity and the worth of the individual. This idea of the worth of the individual was new. This new message carried a possibility of hope and a love of God.
Josephine Emma Curtis was born into this atmosphere of change in a small town in Connecticut on September 2nd, 1849, although most publications have her birth year as 1853. Emma was the oldest of nine children and was raised on a farm. The Curtis family valued education and, apparently, Emma was an excellent student.
In 1874, when Emma was 25 years old, she married George Hopkins. George was a high school English teacher. They had a son who died at the age of 30. Emma and George lived separate lives beginning in the mid 1880's. Eventually, George filed for divorce on the grounds of abandonment.
In the early 1880's Emma had an ailment related to breathing and came to a Christian Science practitioner. Out of that healing experience, she contacted Mary Baker Eddy and began working and studying with Ms. Eddy in Boston. Emma became the editor of The Christian Science Journal. In 1886, without cause, Mrs. Eddy relieved Emma of this position. Probably that termination came out of Emma's broad education. It is known that she continued to read any and all material. Mrs. Eddy believed that Christian Science was revealed only to her and that it should be considered the final word. Emma felt that the truth had been revealed to many people throughout history and that truth was available to everyone.
After the split with Mrs. Eddy, Emma went on to establish her own school in Chicago. It was called The Emma Curtis Hopkins College of Christian Science and it graduated its first class in 1886. In Chicago, her innovative ideas and policies built the foundation that provided the organizational structure of the New Thought Movement in the United States.
Emma established many study groups in the east and the west, from New York City to Seattle to Milwaukee to San Francisco to Washington, D.C. She visited these groups frequently and became known as the Teacher of Teachers. She also had study groups in Europe and traveled there. There were seventeen branches of the Hopkins Metaphysical Association from Maine to California. On one of her trips to San Francisco, she taught 250 students. In 1918, Emma was voted honorary president of the International New Thought Alliance. That organization is active today.
Emma had a unique approach to her teaching. For one thing, she insisted that her students already knew everything that she was telling them. It wasn't a matter so much as learning but as recalling or remembering the spiritual instinct that is born within us. She had a great sense of integrity toward her students for she felt equal with her students because all are the expression of God. To her the teaching was more important than the teacher. She showed great enthusiasm for the high principles of Truth.
She insisted upon discipline – to train the mind to think in a certain way at all times. She challenged her students to prove out the truth principles in their lives.
During this time, women were discounted and it was thought their places were in the home. Emma did not fit into this mold. It is reported that Emma taught over 50,000 individuals. She ordained women as ministers. Another 30 years passed before women gained the right to vote. Some of her students went on to establish schools and churches – Divine Science, the Home of Truth, Religious Science and Unity. Her students included H. Emily Cady, the Fillmores, Ernest Homes and many others.
Ernest Holmes was Emma's last student. He studied with her in 1924 and she died in 1925. Holmes described her as a stately woman who always wore a long dress, an elegant hat and white gloves.
Emma acknowledged three sciences: (1) the material or physical science that declares laws; (2) mental science, as all that we are IS made up of our thought; and (3) mystical science, which she emphasized. She drew from the bible, the non-Christian scriptures like the Bhagavad Gita, the Avesta Zoroaster, ancient Greek and Roman mythologies and the world's great philosophies and saints.
Emma was the first to bring in the concept of the Divine Feminine. She claimed the "Mind-Principle" is the "Fatherhood of the Trinity" – The "Sonship" symbolizes the children who are "creations of the mind" – "The Holy Ghost" is the "Mother-Life."
Emma has been called a New Mystic. She has been described as an introvertive type of mystic who let go of the empirical ego so that the pure ego merged into the Light – or what we might call an experience of Unitive Consciousness.
The mystical science deals with the hidden, unspoken and invisible. Emma writes in a way that we can relate this mystical science to everyday living.
This book, Self Treatments including The Radiant I AM, was given by Emma as part of her lectures at the Hopkins Theological Seminary in Chicago. The style of writing was the style of the times. In the old-fashioned, flowery verbiage, the mystical truth comes to life. Make an agreement with yourself to NOT be intimated by her writing style. For example, we might say, "Thoughts are things," but Emma would say it this way, "The great white glory within, all hot with the spirit, warms some word into feeling and a shape as the warmth and dew forces the amoeba to spring into the shape of a man or a plant, that which the sunlight of understanding has gleamed upon stirred to take form."
Try reading Emma out loud. Pretend you are Emma and feeling her inspiration!
Note: With gratitude to WiseWoman Press who collected this material in the form of this book.
THE RADIANT I AM by Emma Curtis Hopkins: http://www.churchofspiritualscience.org/radiant_i_am_by_emma_curtis_hopkins.html