Author Tasia Scrutton
Publisher SCM £19.99
This book is an erudite addition to the literature concerning Christianity and depression, the author being an Associate Professor in Philosophy and Religion at the University of Leeds. The foreword by John Swinton, with his references to ‘unconventional mental health experiences’, sets the tone for the main text which is concerned with the different interpretations of depression within the Christian faith and how these interpretations influence the experience of depression. The book also addresses the kinds of response, support and advice people should get about depression from churches. In the first two chapters, the author is at pains to dismantle explanations of depression which focus on sin and demons as causes. The biology of depression is dealt with in chapter 3, and notions of a suffering God form the material for chapters 6 and 7. The chapter that I most related to was chapter 5, entitled ‘Can depression help us grow?’, which examines the life, work and writings of the psychologist and Catholic priest Henri Nouwen. Each chapter concludes with comprehensive notes. This is recommended reading for anyone with an interest in this field, from whatever perspective.