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the combination of elements from different religions or different cultural traditions. Syncretism in religious belief and practices has been especially associated with contexts, e.g. colonialism, in which a major religion is brought into contact with local religions, but it can also be seen as a general feature of the transformation of religions or cultures and of DIASPORAS. See also CULT, CARGO CULT, POSTCOLONIAL THEORY.



(1) The absence of differentiation that characterizes an undeveloped state of certain phenomena. Examples are art during the initial stages of human culture, when music, singing, poetry, and the dance were not distinguished from one another, and a child’s mental functions during the early stages of its development.

(2) The blending or inorganic merging of heterogeneous elements. An example is the merging of different cults and religious systems in late antiquity— the religous syncretism of the Hellenistic period.

(3) In philosophy, syncretism denotes a variant of eclecticism.



in linguistics, the merging of once formally distinct grammatical categories or meanings into one form, which, as a result, becomes polysemous or polyfunctional. In Latin, for example, syncretism in the case system led to a combining of the functions of the instrumental and locative cases in the ablative case. Syncretism can occur not only in the morphology but also in the syntax of a language. The concept of syncretism is paradigmatic, differing from the syntagmatic neutralization of oppositions. Syncretism is an irreversible systemic shift in the process of the development of a language; neutralization is a living process associated with the use of linguistic units in speech.

References in periodicals archive ?
She explains her notion of syncretist aesthetics in terms of cultural reactions to modernity in the historical avant-garde and those considered modernists and postmodernists, then locates these concepts within the ideologies and cultural trajectories in Argentina and Greece, moving specifically to Borges and the ironic and fantastic traditions of Argentina.
In the poem, Duncan invokes the magic of Pletho, Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, Italian syncretist and Neoplatonist philosophers, as symbols of the power to bind all ages in one, all conflicts in one, with the help of syncretic lore.
It is Everson's intention, instead, to conduct a "full scale textual analysis" of the works of the major writers of the period, examined in their cultural context, in order to demonstrate the existence "of a syncretist culture interfused on each side with elements of the other" (6), that is, there is no paradox in this parallel development.
Some who do not understand him see Merton as a mere syncretist, a dabbler in things of the East, a kind of precursor to Hollywood dilettantes now enamored of Asian religions.
From Aulchand to Sati-Ma: The Institutionalization of the Syncretist Karta-Bhaja Sect of Bengal.
Murray's syncretist aim to reconcile opposites is continued in the poetic styles and subject.
The Research Group in Democracy and Social and Economic Development of Cote d'Ivoire (GERDDES-CI) created the forum, which includes leaders of many of the country's religious groups, including Catholics, Muslims, various Protestant groups, several syncretist groups, the Association of Traditional Priests, and the Bossonists, an association of indigenous Akan religious priests.
This was not to say that Marchal was a syncretist or that he wanted to leave Muslims on their own to become "good Muslims.
Pope John Paul has acted in this tradition by attacking liberation theology in Latin America or syncretist theology in Asia (see Tom Fox's new book, Pentecost in Asia).
Bonaventure in his late mystical works, the unscholastic syncretist Raymond Lull, and the Dominican Meister Eckhart.
There are also small numbers of other messianic Islamic groups, including the Malaysian-affiliated Darul Arqam, the syncretist Indonesian Jamaah Salamulla group (also called the Salamulla Congregation), and the Indonesian Islamic Propagation Institute (LDII).
Turner refers to another type of movement as syncretist (later "synthetist"), which deliberately takes its content from both traditio nal African and Christian sources.