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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 ?
He likens this cultural process to what linguists refer to as a koine (a language formed through the consolidation of related languages) rather than to creolization (a syncretic process that brings together disparate elements to make something new).
Haiti, Cuba, and Brazil) with the enslaved Africans awaiting resale, thus importing already syncretic Afrocreole spiritual traditions such as Vodou, Santeria, and Candomble.
The book highlights the role of the Mughals in promoting syncretic imagery (albeit for different reasons), allowing it to usher in sweeping change: in the royal atelier.
Before the president arrived, Sibal spoke about the contribution of the Silk Letter Movement to India's freedom struggle and its syncretic culture.
The church's hostility toward the role of African religions and their syncretic expressions during Sunday Mass, even today.
The philosophy of Moonists is largely syncretic, that is, it includes the combination of Catholicism, Pentecostalism, Jehovah, Shamanism, Occultism,etc, MP Osmonaliev stated.
With creative imagination, Levine tells the missionary story in Xhosaland by exploring closely the life of Tzatzoe, focusing on his success as "a religious, linguistic, and intellectual innovator in the regimented setting of European missions and the more syncretic settings of various Xhosa communities" (p.
If indeed some potentially 'bad' energy, however little, was dissipated in this way, and if indeed it possibly had some unifying, positive, syncretic effect between peoples of different ethnic groups and nationalities, then I would be quite happy to continue living with the vuvuzela, even if it means some degree of hearing loss and living with some noise pollution.
Burke also suspects that Blair planned the visit before his own departure from office to "enhance (his) syncretic Faith Foundation.
Though Dalrymple holds out hope that the tradition of syncretic mysticism will remain alive in India, he concedes that in mosques and temples around the country, "identities are hardening.
According to media reports, Maqbool Fida Hussein, India's most celebrated modern painter - venerable 95-year-old seeped in the syncretic culture of Pandharpur, Maharashtra, and soaked not just in the knowledge but also deep understanding of Hindu mythology and religious universe - has been conferred the nationality of Qatar.
The stories of both the Guinea and the Yoruba reveal the syncretic spiritual philosophy which govern the hearts and provide hope for the Caco women.