Syncretism

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syncretism

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.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Syncretism

 

(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.


Syncretism

 

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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
If Zion in Moise is not a typological site, it is very much a syncretist one.
To summarize, the reason why Islam and democracy seem to go well together in Indonesia has as much to do with broader dynamics within civil society, political parties and state institutions as it has to do with the syncretist, hence moderate forms of Islam practiced in the archipelago.
Despite criticisms from some in the Roman curia that he is a syncretist and a dangerous progressive, Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi was handpicked by Pope Benedict XVI as the Vatican's unofficial minister for culture.
Their syncretist tactics also distinguish them from Christian missionaries (p 96).
Since there is a genuine committal aspect present here, Voltolini's syncretist view strikes this reviewer as being a subspecies of the realist one.
The Forum of Religious Confessions (The Forum) is an interfaith organization that promotes dialogue, understanding, and improved relationships among religious leaders and groups, engaging 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.
But in important respects it was also more 'modern', syncretist and dualist in its combination of re-invented traditional ritual and advocacy of condom use--recognising the changing lifestyles among the young in both the city and the countryside.
Kaiser may think that the syncretist "theology" of some Indian or Sri Lankan Jesuit theologians merging the "best" of the world's religions into a melting pot has a great future; no one of importance in the Catholic Church I know agrees with him.
Inspired by a syncretist view of the past, these views reinforced the Pseudo-Plutarchan view of Homer as originator of all the arts and sciences, supreme poet, and unsurpassed genius.