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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of this volume and its chapters. Driven by funding agencies, empirical research in the social scientific study of health and medicine has grown in quantity and developed in quality. When it became evident, in what is now a tradition of inquiry, that people's religious activities had significant health consequences, a portion of that body of work began to focus more frequently on the relationship between health and religion. Theories have a matter, a topic toward which they offer avenues of understanding, conceptualization and explanation. When the topic has two centers of interest-health and religion-the potential paradigms begin to multiply because different aspects of one center can be related to different aspects of the other.

Keywords: funding agencies; health; medicine; religion; social scientific study



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