01: As is evident in the study from The Lancet cited above, the issue of the relation of faith and spirituality to health is coming under increasing debate.
A good resource for understanding the subject is a symposium published in the December issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. Although the articles focus on mental health, their multi-disciplinary approach (including sociology and psychiatry), captures many of the themes of the wider religion-health debate.
An introduction to the symposium acknowledges the problem of “other factors” (as cited in the Lancet study) in determining the true relationship between religious belief and practices and health, while other articles deal with African-Americans’ religious involvement and mental health and the social role of congregations in influencing well-being.
For more information on this issue, write: Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1365 Stone Hall, Sociology Dept., Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1365.
02: The winter issue of the Israeli Jewish journal Azure is devoted to the future of Zionism and the Jewish state over the next 50 years.
A wide range of scholars address the identity of Israel in what one writer calls a “post-Zionist” situation. Many of the contributors contend that the question is no longer whether Israel should or can exist , but whether it should be a Jewish state. Most of the essays criticize the idea of a secular state but are divided as to what degree Judaism should define the nation.
The issue costs $5 and is available from: Azure, 1140 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 801, Washington, D.C. 20036.