1st Edition

Syncretism in Religion A Reader

    Syncretism - the fusion of different beliefs into one religious system - has long been controversial in scholarship. It is widely held that religion, culture and ethnicity are pure entities that may become mixed in encounter and lead to impure, hybrid forms. 'Syncretism in Religion' presents a selection of essays committed to solving the problems of syncretism. The essays reflect the full breadth of religious traditions that could be called syncretistic. An overview of the historical background of syncretism is given, alongside classical readings from the history of religion, definitions of syncretism in relation to theories of power, and an assessment of the future of the subject. This volume brings together the work of authors who have made significant contributions in the field, some appearing for the first time in English. It will be of interest to any student or scholar of religion, philosophy or anthropology concerned with the dynamics of cultural contact and change.

    Preface; Sources; Part I: General Introduction; Part II: The Historical Background of the Term Syncretism: The Problem of Definition; Introduction; 1. Hans Kippenberg: In Praise of Syncretism: The Beginnings of Christianity Conceived in the Light of a Diagnosis of Modern Culture; 2. Hendrik Kraemer: Syncretism; 3. Robert Baird: Syncretism and the History of Religions; 4. Michael Pye: Syncretism and Ambiguity; 5. Kurt Rudolph: Syncretism - from Theological Invective to a Concept in the Study of Religion; Part III: Syncretism: The Dynamics of Religion; Introduction; 1. Gerardus van der Leeuw: The Dynamic of Relgions. Syncretism. Mission; 2. Hendrik M. Vroom: Syncretism and Dialogue: A Philosophical Analysis; 3. Roger Bastide: Problems of Religious Syncretism; Part IV: Religions in Contact: Power, Syncretism and Creolization; Introduction; 1. Andrew Apter: Herskovit's Heritage: Rethinking Syncretism in the African Diaspora; 2. Carlos Guillermo Wilson: The Caribbean: Marvelous Cradle-Hammock and Painful Cornucopia; 3. Gustavo Benavides: Syncretism and Legitimacy in Latin American Religion; 4. Andre Droogers: Syncretism, Power, Play; 5. Armin W. Geertz: Worlds in Collusion: On Social Strategies and Misrepresentations as Forces of Syncretism in Euro-American and Native American Affairs; Part V: Category Problems and Theoretical Suspense; Introduction; 1. Charles Stewart: Relocating Syncretism in Social Science Discourse; 2. Luther H. Martin: Syncretism, Historicism, and Cognition: A Response to Michael Pye; 3. Ulrich Berner: The Concept of 'Syncretism': An Instrument of Historical Insight/Discovery?; Part VI: Current Approaches to Syncretism in the Study of Religion; Introduction; 1. Timothy Light: Orthosyncretism: An Account of Melding in Religion; 2. Panayotis Pachis: Religious Tendencies in Greece at the Dawn of the 21st Century - An Approach to Contemporary Greek Reality; 3. Kirstine Munk: 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; Appendix: List of References to Further Reading on Syncretism


    Jeppe Sinding Jensen, Anita Maria Leopold