The explosion of new and diverse forms of Christianity across the Global South – mass conversions, emergence of new denominations, and revitalization within established churches – have been among the most staggering religious phenomena of recent times. The diffused Pentecostal and Evangelical movements, which gained prominence throughout the 20th century, have already reached a dramatic following of over half a billion. The Roman Catholic Church and the historical mainline churches have joined the fray with their own charismatic renewal movements. The emergence of these new churches has had profound social, cultural and political impact within international, national and local arenas. No wonder, therefore, that some have been referring to the explosion of new Christian forms as a "second reformation," a term indicative of its magnitude and far-reaching implications.
On 28-29 May, the Buber Society of Fellows sponsored a two-day interdisciplinary conference dedicated to dialogue between scholars of religion in the broad sense of the term, with the aim of developing comparative, interdisciplinary perspectives. The conference was hosted by the Mandel building, and was organized by Buber fellow Yonatan N. Gez, together with Yael Mabat of Tel Aviv University and with the help of Tamara Kerzhner and Manya Kagan. Other Buber fellows who contributed to the event include Francesca Fiaschetti and Gregor Buss. In addition to the Buber Society, the conference enjoyed the sponsorship of the Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace, the Glocal International Development Studies, and the Hebrew University's Authority for Research and Development.
The conference featured over twenty contributors of various career stages and disciplinary orientations from over ten countries, including several from the Global South. The participants explored multiple approaches through which to develop comparative perspectives on these disperse-yet-interrelated religio-social developments. Through multi-sited comparative studies, exploration of moments of cross-regional interaction, and the mapping of channels of inter-regional influences, as well as in-depth and contextualized studies of specific case studies, the conference participants gained insights into how local and global trends play out both geographically and over time.