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Health, Disease, and Bioethics in Theological Perspective
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PAPERBACK; Published: 12/20/2013
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6899-2
Price: $ 36.50
256 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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A theologically satisfying discussion of health and disease that addresses key areas neglected by medical ethicists

We use such words as "health," "disease," and "illness" all the time without stopping to consider exactly what we understand by them. Yet their meanings are far from straightforward, and disagreements over them have important practical consequences in health care and bioethics.

In this book Neil Messer develops a distinctive and innovative theological account of these concepts. He engages in earnest with debates in the philosophy of medicine and disability studies and draws on a wide array of theological resources including Barth, Bonhoeffer, Aquinas, and recent disability theologies.

By enabling us to understand health in the wider perspective of the flourishing and ultimate destiny of human beings, Messer's Flourishing sheds new light on a range of practical bioethical issues and dilemmas.
Celia Deane-Drummond
—University of Notre Dame
"In this lively and informative book Neil Messer demonstrates his intellectual alacrity by engaging in a careful and thoughtful way with some of the most pressing issues facing those in the health caring professions. . . . His achievement is to produce a critical framework for thinking through difficult and highly charged bioethical problems and illustrating this by close attention to particular examples, drawn from particular medical cases and disability studies. . . . Flourishing deserves to be widely read, not just by specialists in theological bioethics, but also by health practitioners and other health professionals."
Robert Song
—Durham University
"Perplexity over the nature of health, disease, and illness lies behind many of the most intractable debates in contemporary medicine. In this attractive and consistently well-judged exploration of the nature of human flourishing, Neil Messer draws from Barth and Aquinas to give a decisively theological account which nevertheless richly integrates a range of philosophical and scientific insights. It is an impressive work, and will be an invaluable reference-point for future work in theological bioethics."
Stephen J. Pope
—Boston College
"Neil Messer's Flourishing offers an informed, balanced, and thoughtful theological approach to health, disease, and disability. It offers a fair-minded and nuanced analysis that will interest experts in health care ethics. His constructive proposal is based on a carefully worked out version of teleological 'Barthian Thomism' that combines speculative creativity with practical compassion."
Theological Book Review
"For those wanting a detailed overview of philosophical issues pertinent to the practice of contemporary medicine, Messer is an excellent guide."
Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith
"A thorough and thoughtful review and analysis of the various theories and approaches to foundational issues concerning human health, disease, and disability as they relate to the concept of human flourishing. . . . In addition to helping Christian bioethicists and philosophers to dialogue more constructively with the broader bioethics community, I believe that Messer's text will be very helpful in assisting those in the church (clergy and laity) to understand more profitably the concepts of health and disease from a distinctively Christian point of view."
"The unlikely coupling of Barth and Aquinas works in Messer's adept hands. . . . Recommended."
Midwest Book Review
"From the philosophy of medicine and disability studies to various theological insights, this provides keys to understanding the bigger picture and considers a range of bioethical issues and problems inherent in the health industry's many changes."
Ethics & Medicine (UK)
"This is a solid, persuasive, informed and well-organised volume. . . . A solid set of basic theological principles grounding a careful analysis of concepts and an informed engagement with the current literature on health, illness, disease and disability."
Studies in Christian Ethics
"This is a book to ponder and enjoy. As ever Neil Messer is thoughtful and well-read."
"Offers a lucid, theologically engaging analysis of the contested meanings of health, disease, illness and disability, and the practical and pastoral implications of those varied understandings for a number of issues in bioethics. . . . An excellent book — broad-ranging, insightful and theologically vigorous. It deserves a wide audience."