Hearing Voices

A new book by respected therologian and psychiatrist, Prof Chis Cook from Durham University, looks at the topic of voice hearing, starting in the Bible and ancient cultures and working up to the modern day.

This book is currently FREE on kindle.

This is a serious academic book, so take time to read it - it's a meal not a snack. There are some 'long words' but these are in context and the book should be accessible to most. Below is from the amazon review:

Experiences of hearing the voice of God (or angels, demons, or other spiritual beings) have generally been understood either as religious experiences or else as a feature of mental illness. Some critics of traditional religious faith have dismissed the visions and voices attributed to biblical characters and saints as evidence of mental disorder. However, it is now known that many ordinary people, with no other evidence of mental disorder, also hear voices and that these voices not infrequently include spiritual or religious content. Psychological and interdisciplinary research has shed a revealing light on these experiences in recent years, so that we now know much more about the phenomenon of "hearing voices" than ever before.

The present work considers biblical, historical, and scientific accounts of spiritual and mystical experiences of voice hearing in the Christian tradition in order to explore how some voices may be understood theologically as revelatory. It is proposed that in the incarnation, Christian faith finds both an understanding of what it is to be fully human (a theological anthropology), and God’s perfect self-disclosure (revelation). Within such an understanding, revelatory voices represent a key point of interpersonal encounter between human beings and God.


Reading this book as a psychiatrist, I was immediately struck by how limited my understanding of voice hearing was - as I see people everyday with psychosis and voices from that context, However, I do know that for many of my patients their voices can be helpful as well as a hinderance and that learning to live with them is a key part of living withing ongong mental illness - as not all respond to medication.

However, I was also awoken afresh to the rich narratives of voice-hearing both in Scripture and in the Christian tradition spanning thousands of years. Here, for the most part, the assumption was that this was [or atleast could be] the voice of God.

Rob Waller, 28/01/2019
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