1st Edition

Syncretism in Religion A Reader

Edited By Anita Maria Leopold, Jeppe Sinding Jensen Copyright 2004

    Long a fascinating but problematic category of religious studies, "syncretism" is an elastic term that describes a wide range of practices characterized by the mixing or overlap of traditions. Syncretism in Religion offers the student a broad selection of essays, both classical contributions to the study of syncretism and new essays commissioned especially for this volume. Some important selections appear here in English for the first time. Also included is a list of references for further reading.

    Table of Contents Part I: General Information Part II: The Historical Background of the Term Syncretism: The Problem of Definition Introduction to Part II 1. In Praise of Syncretism The Beginnings of Christianity Conceived in the Light of a Diagnosis of Modern Culture (Hans G. Kippenberg) 2. Syncretism (Hendrik Kraemer) 3. Syncretism and the History of Religions (Robert D. Baird) 4. Syncretism and Ambiguity (Michael Pye) 5. Syncretism: From Theological Invective to a Concept in the Study of Religion (Kurt Rudolph) Part III: Syncretism: The Dynamics of Religion Introduction to Part III 1. The Dynamism of Religions. Syncretism. Mission (Gerdardus Van Der Leeuw) 2. Syncretism and Dialogue: A Philosophical Analysis (Hendrik M.Vroom) 3. Problems of Religious Syncretism (Roger Bastide) Part IV: Religions in Contact: Power, Syncretism, and Creolization Introduction to Part IV 1. Herskovits Heritage: Rethinking Syncretism in the African Diaspora (Andrew Apter) 2. The Caribbean: Marvelous Cradle-Hammock and Painful Cornucopia (Carlos Guillermo Wilson) 3. Syncretism and Legitamacy in Latin American Religion (Gustavo Benavides) 4. Syncretism, Power, Play (Andre Droogers) 5. Worlds of Collusion: On Social Strategies and Misrepresentations as Forces of Syncretism in Euro-American and Native Amercian Affaris (Armin W. Geertz) Part V: Category Problems and Theoretical Suspense Introduction to Part V 1. Relocating Syncretism in Social Science Discourse (Charles Stewart) 2. Syncretism, Historicism, and Cognition: A Response to Michael Pye (Luther H. Martin) 3. The Concept of Syncretism: An Instrument of Historical Insighn/Discovery? Part VI: Current Approaches to Syncretism in the Study of Religion Introduction to Part VI 1. Orthosyncretism: An Account of Melding in Religion (Timothy Light) 2. Religious Tendencies in Greece at the Dawn of the Twenty-first Century-An Approach to Contemporary Greek Reality (Panayotis Pachis) 3. Medicine-Men, Modernity and Magic: Syncretism as an Explanatory Category to Recent Religious Responses and Magical Practices among Urban Blacks in Contemporary South Africa Part VII: Conclusion


    Anita Maria Leopold has taught in the Department for the Study of Religion, University of Aarhus, Denmark.
    Jeppe Sinding Jensen is Associate Professor in the Study of Religion, University of Aarhus, Denmark. His publications include Rationality and the Study of Religion and The Study of Religion in a New Key.

    "A much-needed and thoughtfully structured anthology...it will become the text of choice for teaching about religious syncretism for years to come." -- Terry Rey, Florida International University