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The Bible and Mental Health

Towards a Biblical Theology of Mental Health

The Bible and Mental Health

Towards a Biblical Theology of Mental Health

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Publisher: SCM Press
ISBN: 9780334059776
Number of Pages: 256
Published: 30/08/2020

Is it possible to develop such a thing as a biblical theology of mental health? How might we develop a helpful and pastoral use of scripture to explore questions of mental health within a Christian framework?

This timely and important book integrates the highest levels of biblical scholarship with theological and pastoral concerns to consider how we use scripture when dealing with mental health issues.

Chapters include:

Paula Gooder on Healing and wholeness 
Joanna Collicutt on the madness of Jesus 
John Swinton on the Bible in pastoral care
Walter Brueggemann on Psalms and lament

With a foreword from Archbishop Justin Welby

Author Biographies vii

Foreword by the Archbishop of Canterbury xi

Introduction xiii

Part 1: Biblical Theology 1

1. Narrative, Meaning Making and Mental Health 3

Jocelyn Bryan

2. Wholeness and Illness: A View from the Old Testament 20

Gordon McConville

3. Jesus and Madness 34

Joanna Collicutt

4. Paul and Mental Health 54

Stephen C. Barton

5. Paul, the Mind and the Mind of Christ 74

Paula Gooder

Part 2: Biblical Case Studies 83

6. Patient Job, Angry Job: Speaking Faith in the Midst of Trauma 85

Isabelle Hamley

7. Anxiety: Some Perspectives from the Old Testament 96

David G. Firth

8. Truth-telling as Well-making 105

Walter Brueggemann

9. Spirituality from the Depths: Responding to Crushing Circumstances and Psychological and Spiritual Distress in Jeremiah 115

Jill Firth

10. What Did Jesus Have to Say About Mental Health? The Sermon on the Mount 128

Christopher C. H. Cook

11. The Gerasene Demoniac 141

Christopher C. H. Cook

Part 3: Practical Focus 157

12. The Bible in Pastoral Care of Christians Living with Mental Health Challenges 159

John Swinton

13. The Formation of Christian Community: Reading Scripture in the Light of Mental Health 173

Nick Ladd

14. Bible and Trauma 192

Megan Warner

15. Christian Scripture as a Pastoral Resource for Promoting Resilience 206

Nathan White

Conclusion: Towards a Biblical Theology of Mental Health 217

Select Bibliography 229

Index of Biblical References 233

Index of Names and Subjects 239

Christopher C.H. Cook , Isabelle Hamley, Justin Welby

Christopher C.H. Cook is the Director of the Centre for Spirituality, Theology & Health at the University of Durham. He has held positions as Lecturer at University College, London (1987 to 1990) and Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, London (1994 to 1997) as well as being Professor of the Psychiatry of Alcohol Misuse at the University of Kent from 1997 to 2003. Isabelle Hamley is Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Previously she was lecturer in Biblical Studies at St John's School of Mission, Nottingham. She is the author of Unspeakable Things Unspoken: Otherness, gender and victimisation in Judges 19-21 (Wipf and Stock, 2018) and God of Justice and Mercy: A Theological Commentary on Judges (SCM Press, forthcoming)

"Scholarly and yet accessible, this excellent book speaks with a diversity of voices about mental health and illness, and the lifelong challenge of finding our stories in God's big story, and the centrality of Scripture in this process. It will be a useful resource for those involved in Christian pastoral work, as well as those seeking to integrate their faith with their life experiences as someone living with, or alongside those with, mental illness." -- Revd. Dr Alison J Gray, FRCPsych, Chair RCPsych Spirituality and Psychiatry SIG 

"At last, an authoritative and comprehensive study of the connection between faith and mental health which doesn’t shy away from making helpful practical applications. This is a timely book, written by a number of distinguished authors, which directly engages with the various challenges faced by Christians when confronted by mental illness and mental health care. The Biblical material is thoroughly addressed, emotions are sensitively considered, and we are all invited to discuss the ‘stigma’ which has so often surrounded mental ill-health. It will appeal especially to clergy, clinicians and lay theologians, but anyone with an interest in what it means to be fully human and healthy will benefit hugely from the way in which it brings scripture to bear on our everyday experience. I found it full of fascinating insights and commend it very warmly indeed." -- Rt Revd James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle

"This timely collection of essays connects biblical studies to the sciences of mental healthcare, and theology to lived experience, with both creativity and care. Full of insight, intellectually robust, and consistently honest about the fragile spaces we inhabit, its authors explore from multiple angles how God can be present within frailty, not beyond it. There are rich resources here for church leaders, counsellors, and all concerned to give and receive support for mental wellbeing, not least in our present traumatic times." -- John M.G. Barclay FBA, Lightfoot Professor of Divinity, Durham University