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Conversion-led Movements: Convergences and Divergences between Brazilian Pentecostalism and Israeli Judaism

DAVID LEHMANN, Reader in Social Science, Cambridge University

Monday, April 28, 2008
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Bunche Hall, Room 6275
Los Angeles, CA 90095

About the lecture: The concept of conversion-led movements is a convenient one to encompass a range of movements located in different religious traditions but which share common features: a growth dynamic based on conversion campaigns; a concomitant call to converts to rebuild their lives and to adopt a lifestyle in accordance with the prescriptions of the religious organization or movement; a dissident posture vis-à-vis a cultural elite; an opportunist approach to politics; and an appeal to the socially excluded. It encompasses Pentecostalism and also movements of ‘return’ seeking to bring secularized Jews and Muslims ‘back’ to strict observance of their faith. A secular age in which claims to religious affiliation are acceptable on the basis of belief independently of birth or heritage, has opened up a vast space for these movements, which are now having substantial influence on the major religious traditions.  The lecture will explore these claims on the basis of a comparison principally between Brazilian Pentecostalism and the Israeli movement and party of Sephardi revival, Shas.


About David Lehmann:  David Lehmann is Reader in Social Science at Cambridge University. He has published extensively on development and religion in Latin America, notably in Chile, Ecuador and Brazil, on themes ranging from land reform and peasant economies to Catholicism and Pentecostalism. He has also written on charismatic and fundamentalist movements generally. In 2000 he began to work on religious revival among Israel’s Sephardi population, leading to a book written with Batia Siebzehner: Remaking Israeli Judaism: the challenge of Shas, (New York, Oxford University Press, 2006). He is currently working on a project tracing the diffusion of multicultural ideas in Latin America.

Cost : Free and open to the public

Diliana Peregrina
(310) 825-4571

Sponsor(s): Latin American Institute, Center for Brazilian Studies, The Center for the Study of Religion at UCLA

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