Recent decades have witnessed an unprecedented surge of scholarly activity on the subject of conversion. 1 Since the early 1990s, when several important studies were published, a steady stream of monographs, essay collections, research projects, conferences, specialized panels, and workshops have been dedicated to the topic. 2 This cumulative effort has now reached critical mass, constituting what may rightly be called a new field of “conversion studies.” 3

The range of different perspectives expressed in such scholarly endeavors reveals a dazzling array of interdependent realities and textual representations. Having gained a better understanding of the kaleidoscopic diversity with which the phenomenon of conversion may be projected onto human histories, scholars have grown more sensitive and critical of the terminological and conceptual stitches that hold this historical construct together.