Usually associated with severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia, voice-hearing is also an important aspect of many ordinary people's lives. Focusing on theological, spiritual and religious contributions to understanding the phenomenon, this book develops field of voice-hearing or auditory verbal hallucinations. Cook also demonstrates the contribution of a scientific theology of voice-hearing, presenting a two way perspective of the theology on the science, and of the science on the theology. Within faith communities, and amongst those who follow newer traditions of spirituality which are not directly linked to religious tradition, experiences of voice-hearing in both a narrow and a wider sense are significant. Exploring the narrow sense of a perceptual experience of hearing a voice when no one is speaking, Cook points to research that suggests that ordinary people who are not diagnosed (or diagnosable) as mentally ill speak of hearing 'the voice of God' much more commonly than previously appreciated.
Those who are diagnosed (or diagnosable) as suffering from a mental disorder can find making spiritual or religious sense of their experiences, and developing adaptive coping responses, a particular problem. In wider religious and spiritual contexts in faith communities, Cook explores ways in which people report experiences of voice hearing: in prayer; through metaphorical 'voices' of women, the poor, the oppressed or even of one's own true 'self'; amidst historical and traditional textual accounts of voices heard by saints and mystics (eg Joan of Arc or Margery Kempe), and characters in scripture (eg Ezekiel in Hebrew scripture, or St Paul in the New Testament). This book raises issues of relevance to religion and science, spirituality and health, and to the psychology of religious experience
Hearing the Voice by Christopher C. H. Cook was published by Taylor & Francis Ltd in November 2017. The ISBN for Hearing the Voice is 9781472453983.