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ss triple helix - Christmas 2011,  A theological diagnosis

A theological diagnosis

A theological diagnosis: a new direction on genetic therapy, 'disability' and the ethics of healing.
By Matt Edmonds
Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011
£25 Pb 208pp
ISBN 978 1 84310 998 3

This unusual book includes chapters on theology, genetic techniques and faith healing. The surprising link is the author's experience with the L'Arche community. He reviews the literature on the theology of disability and explains his personal theology of grace and concern for each individual known by name. An unnecessarily detailed description of the new genetic technologies is followed by a good discussion of the theology of genetics. Of far more concern to the author is the 'prosperity gospel' and three chapters review the rise of this form of Christianity, highlighting its limitations and disasters. Its emphasis on healing as a 'right' of true believers denigrates and distresses those with disability, implying that it is their faith, or that of their carers that is lacking.

The final chapter outlines the work of the L'Arche communities with their attitude of grace and acceptance for each individual however severe their inability. Well referenced and indexed this is a complex book, difficult to summarise briefly but well worth reading.

Caroline Berry is a retired Consultant Geneticist who worked at Guy's Hospital in London

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