Syncretism

Syncretism

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Syncretism (ˈsɪŋkrətɪzəm) is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word. Syncretism may involve the merger and analogising
Analogy
Analogy is a cognitive process of transferring information or meaning from a particular subject to another particular subject , and a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process...

 of several originally discrete tradition
Tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

s, especially in the theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 and mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 of religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive
Inclusive
Inclusive may refer to:* Inclusion * inclusive disjunction, A or B or both* inclusive fitness, in evolutionary theory, how many kin are supported including non-descendants* inclusive interval includes its endpoints...

 approach to other faiths.

Syncretism also occurs commonly in expressions of arts and culture (see eclecticism
Eclecticism
Eclecticism is a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases.It can sometimes seem inelegant or...

) as well as politics (see syncretic politics
Syncretic politics
Syncretic politics or spectral-syncretic refers to a form of politics outside of the conventional left-right political spectrum, this term is especially used by some scholars to describe the political nature of fascism...

).

Nomenclature, orthography and etymology


The Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

 first attests the word syncretism in English in 1618. It derives from modern Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 syncretismus, drawing on Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 συγκρητισμός (synkretismos), meaning "Cretan federation."

The Greek word occurs in Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

's (1st century AD) essay on "Fraternal Love" in his Moralia (2.490b). He cites the example of the Cretans
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

, who reconciled their differences and came together in alliance when faced with external dangers. "And that is their so-called Syncretism."

Erasmus probably coined the modern usage of the Latin word in his Adagia
Adagia
Adagia is an annotated collection of Greek and Latin proverbs, compiled during the Renaissance by Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus. Erasmus' collection of proverbs is "one of the most monumental ... ever assembled" Adagia (adagium is the singular form and adagia is the plural) is an...

("Adages"), published in the winter of 1517–1518, to designate the coherence of dissenter
Dissenter
The term dissenter , labels one who disagrees in matters of opinion, belief, etc. In the social and religious history of England and Wales, however, it refers particularly to a member of a religious body who has, for one reason or another, separated from the Established Church.Originally, the term...

s in spite of their differences in theological opinions. In a letter to Melanchthon of April 22, 1519, Erasmus specifically adduced the Cretans of Plutarch as an example of his adage "Concord is a mighty rampart".

Social and political roles


Overt syncretism in folk belief may show cultural acceptance of an alien or previous tradition, but the "other" cult may survive or infiltrate without authorized syncresis nevertheless. For example, some Converso
Converso
A converso and its feminine form conversa was a Jew or Muslim—or a descendant of Jews or Muslims—who converted to Catholicism in Spain or Portugal, particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries. Mass conversions once took place under significant government pressure...

s developed a sort of cult
Cult (religious practice)
In traditional usage, the cult of a religion, quite apart from its sacred writings , its theology or myths, or the personal faith of its believers, is the totality of external religious practice and observance, the neglect of which is the definition of impiety. Cult in this primary sense is...

 for martyr-victims of the Spanish Inquisition
Spanish Inquisition
The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition , commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition , was a tribunal established in 1480 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms, and to replace the Medieval...

, thus incorporating elements of Catholicism
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 while resisting it.

Some religious movements have embraced overt syncretism, such as the case of the adoption of Shintō
Shinto
or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi, is the indigenous spirituality of Japan and the Japanese people. It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written...

 elements into Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 as well as the adoption of Germanic and Celtic pagan elements into Catholicism during Christianity's spread into Gaul, the British Isles, Germany, and Scandinavia. Indian influences are seen in the practice of Shi'i Islam in Trinidad
Trinidad
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of it is also the fifth largest in...

. Others have strongly rejected it as devaluing precious and genuine distinctions; examples of this include post-Exile Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, and most of Protestant Christianity.

Syncretism tends to facilitate coexistence and constructive interaction between different cultures (intercultural competence
Intercultural competence
Intercultural competence is the ability of successful communication with people of other cultures.A person who is interculturally competent captures and understands, in interaction with people from foreign cultures, their specific concepts in perception, thinking, feeling and acting...

), a factor that has recommended it to rulers of multi-ethnic realm
Empire
The term empire derives from the Latin imperium . Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a monarch or an oligarchy....

s. Conversely the rejection of syncretism, usually in the name of "piety
Piety
In spiritual terminology, piety is a virtue that can mean religious devotion, spirituality, or a combination of both. A common element in most conceptions of piety is humility.- Etymology :...

" and "orthodoxy
Orthodoxy
The word orthodox, from Greek orthos + doxa , is generally used to mean the adherence to accepted norms, more specifically to creeds, especially in religion...

", may help to generate, bolster or authorize a sense of cultural unity
Cultural identity
Cultural identity is the identity of a group or culture, or of an individual as far as one is influenced by one's belonging to a group or culture. Cultural identity is similar to and has overlaps with, but is not synonymous with, identity politics....

 in a well-defined minority or majority.

Religious syncretism


Religious syncretism exhibits blending of two or more religious belief systems into a new system, or the incorporation into a religious tradition of beliefs from unrelated traditions. This can occur for many reasons, and the latter scenario happens quite commonly in areas where multiple religious traditions exist in proximity and function actively in the culture, or when a culture is conquered, and the conquerors bring their religious beliefs with them, but do not succeed in entirely eradicating the old beliefs or, especially, practices.

Religions may have syncretic elements to their beliefs or history, but adherents of so-labeled systems often frown on applying the label, especially adherents who belong to "revealed" religious systems, such as the Abrahamic religions
Abrahamic religions
Abrahamic religions are the monotheistic faiths emphasizing and tracing their common origin to Abraham or recognizing a spiritual tradition identified with him...

, or any system that exhibits an exclusivist
Exclusivism
Excluvisism is the practice of being exclusive; mentality characterized by the disregard for opinions and ideas other than one's own, or the practice of organizing entities into groups by excluding those entities which possess certain traits like Christopher Columbus..-Religious...

 approach. Such adherents sometimes see syncretism as a betrayal of their pure truth. By this reasoning, adding an incompatible belief corrupts the original religion, rendering it no longer true. Indeed, critics of a specific syncretistic trend may sometimes use the word "syncretism" as a disparaging epithet, as a charge implying that those who seek to incorporate a new view, belief, or practice into a religious system actually distort the original faith. Non-exclusivist systems of belief, on the other hand, may feel quite free to incorporate other traditions into their own.

In modern secular
Secularization
Secularization is the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward non-religious values and secular institutions...

 society, religious innovators sometimes create new religions syncretically as a mechanism to reduce inter-religious tension and enmity, often with the effect of offending the original religions in question. Such religions, however, do maintain some appeal to a less exclusivist audience. Discussions of some of these blended religions appear in the individual sections below.

Ancient Greece


Classical Athens was a exclusivistic in matters of religion, the Decree of Diopithes made the introduction of and belief in foreign Gods a criminal offence and only Greeks were allowed to worship in Athenian temples and festivals as foreigners were considered impure. Syncretism functioned as a feature of Hellenistic Ancient Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 religion although only outside of Greece. Overall, Hellenistic
Hellenistic Greece
In the context of Ancient Greek art, architecture, and culture, Hellenistic Greece corresponds to the period between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the annexation of the classical Greek heartlands by Rome in 146 BC...

 culture in the age that followed Alexander the Great itself showed syncretist features, essentially blending of Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

n, Persian
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

n, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian (and eventually Etruscan
Etruscan civilization
Etruscan civilization is the modern English name given to a civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany. The ancient Romans called its creators the Tusci or Etrusci...

–Roman) elements within an Hellenic formula. The Egyptian
Egyptian mythology
Ancient Egyptian religion was a complex system of polytheistic beliefs and rituals which were an integral part of ancient Egyptian society. It centered on the Egyptians' interaction with a multitude of deities who were believed to be present in, and in control of, the forces and elements of nature...

 god Amun
Amun
Amun, reconstructed Egyptian Yamānu , was a god in Egyptian mythology who in the form of Amun-Ra became the focus of the most complex system of theology in Ancient Egypt...

 developed as the Hellenized Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 Ammon
after Alexander the Great went into the desert to seek out Amun's oracle
Oracle
In Classical Antiquity, an oracle was a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods. As such it is a form of divination....

 at Siwa
Siwa Oasis
The Siwa Oasis is an oasis in Egypt, located between the Qattara Depression and the Egyptian Sand Sea in the Libyan Desert, nearly 50 km east of the Libyan border, and 560 km from Cairo....

.

Such identifications derive from interpretatio graeca
Interpretatio graeca
Interpretatio graeca is a Latin term for the common tendency of ancient Greek writers to equate foreign divinities to members of their own pantheon. Herodotus, for example, refers to the ancient Egyptian gods Amon, Osiris and Ptah as "Zeus", "Dionysus" and "Hephaestus", respectively.-Roman...

, the Hellenic habit of identifying gods of disparate mythologies
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 with their own. When the proto-Greeks (peoples whose language would evolve into Greek proper) first arrived in the Aegean
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 and on the mainland of modern-day Greece early in the 2nd millennium BCE, they found localized nymph
Nymph
A nymph in Greek mythology is a female minor nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Different from gods, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing;...

s and divinities
Divinity
Divinity and divine are broadly applied but loosely defined terms, used variously within different faiths and belief systems — and even by different individuals within a given faith — to refer to some transcendent or transcendental power or deity, or its attributes or manifestations in...

 already connected with every important feature of the landscape: mountain, cave, grove
Grove (nature)
A grove is a small group of trees with minimal or no undergrowth, such as a sequoia grove, or a small orchard planted for the cultivation of fruits or nuts...

 and spring
Spring (hydrosphere)
A spring—also known as a rising or resurgence—is a component of the hydrosphere. Specifically, it is any natural situation where water flows to the surface of the earth from underground...

 all had their own locally venerated deity
Deism
Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

. The countless epithet
Epithet
An epithet or byname is a descriptive term accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied to seemingly real or fictitious people, divinities, objects, and binomial nomenclature. It is also a descriptive title...

s of the Olympian gods reflect their syncretic identification with these various figures. One defines "Zeus Molossos" (worshipped only at Dodona
Dodona
Dodona in Epirus in northwestern Greece, was an oracle devoted to a Mother Goddess identified at other sites with Rhea or Gaia, but here called Dione, who was joined and partly supplanted in historical times by the Greek god Zeus.The shrine of Dodona was regarded as the oldest Hellenic oracle,...

) as "the god identical to Zeus as worshipped by the Molossians
Molossians
The Molossians were an ancient Greek tribe that inhabited the region of Epirus since the Mycenaean era. On their northeast frontier they had the Chaonians and to their southern frontier the kingdom of the Thesprotians, to their north were the Illyrians. The Molossians were part of the League of...

 at Dodona". Much of the apparently arbitrary and trivial mythic fabling
Fable
A fable is a succinct fictional story, in prose or verse, that features animals, mythical creatures, plants, inanimate objects or forces of nature which are anthropomorphized , and that illustrates a moral lesson , which may at the end be expressed explicitly in a pithy maxim.A fable differs from...

 results from later mythographers' attempts to explain these obscure epithets.

Judaism


In Moses and Monotheism
Moses and Monotheism
Moses and Monotheism, 1939 by Sigmund Freud, ISBN 978-0394700144 is a book where Freud hypothesizes that Moses was not Jewish, but actually born into Ancient Egyptian nobility and was perhaps a follower of Akhenaten, an ancient Egyptian monotheist, or perhaps Akhenaten himself...

, Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

 made a case for Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 arising out of the pre-existing monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 that was briefly imposed upon Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 during the rule of Akhenaten
Akhenaten
Akhenaten also spelled Echnaton,Ikhnaton,and Khuenaten;meaning "living spirit of Aten") known before the fifth year of his reign as Amenhotep IV , was a Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt who ruled for 17 years and died perhaps in 1336 BC or 1334 BC...

. Aten
Aten
Aten is the disk of the sun in ancient Egyptian mythology, and originally an aspect of Ra. The deified Aten is the focus of the monolatristic, henotheistic, or monotheistic religion of Atenism established by Amenhotep IV, who later took the name Akhenaten in worship in recognition of Aten...

, the disk of the Sun in ancient Egyptian mythology, and originally an aspect of Ra
Ra
Ra is the ancient Egyptian sun god. By the Fifth Dynasty he had become a major deity in ancient Egyptian religion, identified primarily with the mid-day sun...

, was chosen as the sole deity for Akhenaten's new religion. The "Code of Hammurabi
Code of Hammurabi
The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian law code, dating to ca. 1780 BC . It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code, and partial copies exist on a human-sized stone stele and various clay...

" is also cited as a likely starting point for the Jewish Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

. Hammurabi
Hammurabi
Hammurabi Hammurabi Hammurabi (Akkadian from Amorite ʻAmmurāpi, "the kinsman is a healer", from ʻAmmu, "paternal kinsman", and Rāpi, "healer"; (died c...

 was from the Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

n culture that revered Marduk
Marduk
Marduk was the Babylonian name of a late-generation god from ancient Mesopotamia and patron deity of the city of Babylon, who, when Babylon became the political center of the Euphrates valley in the time of Hammurabi , started to...

, among others. Judaism fought lengthy battles against syncretist tendencies: note the case of the golden calf
Golden calf
According to the Hebrew Bible, the golden calf was an idol made by Aaron to satisfy the Israelites during Moses' absence, when he went up to Mount Sinai...

 and the railing of prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

s against temple prostitution, witchcraft
Witchcraft
Witchcraft, in historical, anthropological, religious, and mythological contexts, is the alleged use of supernatural or magical powers. A witch is a practitioner of witchcraft...

 and local fertility cults, as told in the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

. On the other hand, some scholars hold that Judaism refined its concept of monotheism and adopted features such as its eschatology
Eschatology
Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come...

, angelology and demonology
Demonology
Demonology is the systematic study of demons or beliefs about demons. It is the branch of theology relating to superhuman beings who are not gods. It deals both with benevolent beings that have no circle of worshippers or so limited a circle as to be below the rank of gods, and with malevolent...

 through contacts with Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

.

In spite of the Jewish halakhic
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 prohibitions on polytheism
Polytheism
Polytheism is the belief of multiple deities also usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own mythologies and rituals....

, idolatry
Idolatry
Idolatry is a pejorative term for the worship of an idol, a physical object such as a cult image, as a god, or practices believed to verge on worship, such as giving undue honour and regard to created forms other than God. In all the Abrahamic religions idolatry is strongly forbidden, although...

, and associated practices (avodah zarah
Avodah Zarah
Avodah Zarah is the name of a tractate in the Talmud, located in Nezikin, the fourth Order of the Talmud dealing with damages...

), several combinations of Judaism with other religions have sprung up: Jewish Buddhism, Nazarenism
Nazarene (sect)
The Nazarene sect is used in two contexts:* Firstly of the New Testament early church where in Acts 24:5 Paul is accused before Felix at Caesarea by Tertullus of being "a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes."...

, Judeo-Paganism, Messianic Judaism
Messianic Judaism
Messianic Judaism is a syncretic religious movement that arose in the 1960s and 70s. It blends evangelical Christian theology with elements of Jewish terminology and ritual....

, Jewish Mormonism
Mormonism and Judaism
The doctrines of the Latter Day Saint movement, commonly referred to as Mormonism, teach that its adherents, Latter-day Saints, are either direct descendants of the House of Israel, or are adopted into it. As such, Judaism is foundational to the history of Mormonism; Jews are considered a covenant...

, and others such as Judeo-Christianity. Until relatively recently, China had a Jewish community which had adopted some Confucian practices.
Several of the Jewish Messiah
Jewish Messiah
Messiah, ; mashiah, moshiah, mashiach, or moshiach, is a term used in the Hebrew Bible to describe priests and kings, who were traditionally anointed with holy anointing oil as described in Exodus 30:22-25...

 claimants (such as Jacob Frank
Jacob Frank
Jacob Frank was an 18th century Jewish religious leader who claimed to be the reincarnation of the self-proclaimed messiah Sabbatai Zevi and also of the biblical patriarch Jacob...

) and the Sabbateans came to mix Cabalistic
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

 Judaism with Christianity and Islam.

Roman world


The Romans
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, identifying themselves as common heirs to a very similar civilization, identified Greek deities
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 with similar figures in the Etruscan-Roman tradition
Roman mythology
Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans...

, though without usually copying cult practice
Cult (religious practice)
In traditional usage, the cult of a religion, quite apart from its sacred writings , its theology or myths, or the personal faith of its believers, is the totality of external religious practice and observance, the neglect of which is the definition of impiety. Cult in this primary sense is...

s. (For details, see Interpretatio graeca
Interpretatio graeca
Interpretatio graeca is a Latin term for the common tendency of ancient Greek writers to equate foreign divinities to members of their own pantheon. Herodotus, for example, refers to the ancient Egyptian gods Amon, Osiris and Ptah as "Zeus", "Dionysus" and "Hephaestus", respectively.-Roman...

.) Syncretic god
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

s of the Hellenistic period found also wide favor in Rome: Serapis
Serapis
Serapis or Sarapis is a Graeco-Egyptian name of God. Serapis was devised during the 3rd century BC on the orders of Ptolemy I of Egypt as a means to unify the Greeks and Egyptians in his realm. The god was depicted as Greek in appearance, but with Egyptian trappings, and combined iconography...

, Isis
Isis
Isis or in original more likely Aset is a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the matron of nature and magic...

 and Mithras, for example. Cybele
Cybele
Cybele , was a Phrygian form of the Earth Mother or Great Mother. As with Greek Gaia , her Minoan equivalent Rhea and some aspects of Demeter, Cybele embodies the fertile Earth...

 as worshipped in Rome essentially represented a syncretic East Mediterranean goddess
Goddess
A goddess is a female deity. In some cultures goddesses are associated with Earth, motherhood, love, and the household. In other cultures, goddesses also rule over war, death, and destruction as well as healing....

. The Romans imported the Greek god Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

 into Rome, where he merged with the Latin mead
Mead
Mead , also called honey wine, is an alcoholic beverage that is produced by fermenting a solution of honey and water. It may also be produced by fermenting a solution of water and honey with grain mash, which is strained immediately after fermentation...

 god Liber, and converted the Anatolian Sabazios
Sabazios
Sabazios is the nomadic horseman and sky father god of the Phrygians and Thracians. In Indo-European languages, such as Phrygian, the -zios element in his name derives from dyeus, the common precursor of Latin deus and Greek Zeus...

 into the Roman Sabazius.

The degree of correspondence varied: Jupiter makes perhaps a better match for Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 than the rural huntress Diana does for the feared Artemis
Artemis
Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals"...

. Ares
Ares
Ares is the Greek god of war. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, and the son of Zeus and Hera. In Greek literature, he often represents the physical or violent aspect of war, in contrast to the armored Athena, whose functions as a goddess of intelligence include military strategy and...

 does not quite match Mars. The Romans physically imported the Anatolian goddess Cybele
Cybele
Cybele , was a Phrygian form of the Earth Mother or Great Mother. As with Greek Gaia , her Minoan equivalent Rhea and some aspects of Demeter, Cybele embodies the fertile Earth...

 into Rome from her Anatolian cult-center Pessinos in the form of her original aniconic archaic stone idol
Idolatry
Idolatry is a pejorative term for the worship of an idol, a physical object such as a cult image, as a god, or practices believed to verge on worship, such as giving undue honour and regard to created forms other than God. In all the Abrahamic religions idolatry is strongly forbidden, although...

; they identified her as Magna Mater and gave her a matronly, iconic image developed in Hellenistic Pergamum.

Likewise, when the Romans encountered Celt
Celt
The Celts were a diverse group of tribal societies in Iron Age and Roman-era Europe who spoke Celtic languages.The earliest archaeological culture commonly accepted as Celtic, or rather Proto-Celtic, was the central European Hallstatt culture , named for the rich grave finds in Hallstatt, Austria....

s and Germanic peoples
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

, they mingled these peoples' gods with their own, creating Sulis Minerva, Apollo Sucellos (Apollo the Good Smiter) and Mars Thingsus (Mars of the war-assembly), among many others. In the Germania
Germania (book)
The Germania , written by Gaius Cornelius Tacitus around 98, is an ethnographic work on the Germanic tribes outside the Roman Empire.-Contents:...

, the Roman historian Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

 speaks of Germanic worshippers of Hercules
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

 and Mercury
Mercury (mythology)
Mercury was a messenger who wore winged sandals, and a god of trade, the son of Maia Maiestas and Jupiter in Roman mythology. His name is related to the Latin word merx , mercari , and merces...

; most modern scholars tentatively identify Hercules as Thor
Thor
In Norse mythology, Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing, healing, and fertility...

 and Mercury as Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

.

Christianity


Syncretism did not play a role when Christianity split into eastern and western
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 rites during the Great Schism
East-West Schism
The East–West Schism of 1054, sometimes known as the Great Schism, formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively...

. It became involved, however, with the rifts of the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, with Desiderius Erasmus
Desiderius Erasmus
Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus , known as Erasmus of Rotterdam, was a Dutch Renaissance humanist, Catholic priest, and a theologian....

's readings of Plutarch. Even earlier, Syncretism was a fundamental aspect of the efforts of Neoplatonists such as Marsilio Ficino to reform the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1615, David Pareus
David Pareus
David Pareus was a German Reformed Protestant theologian and reformer.-Life:He was born at Frankenstein December 30, 1548. He was apprenticed to an apothecary and again to a shoemaker...

 of Heidelberg
Heidelberg
-Early history:Between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, "Heidelberg Man" died at nearby Mauer. His jaw bone was discovered in 1907; with scientific dating, his remains were determined to be the earliest evidence of human life in Europe. In the 5th century BC, a Celtic fortress of refuge and place of...

 urged Christians to a "pious syncretism" in opposing the Antichrist
Antichrist
The term or title antichrist, in Christian theology, refers to a leader who fulfills Biblical prophecies concerning an adversary of Christ, while resembling him in a deceptive manner...

, but few 17th-century Protestants discussed the compromises that might effect a reconciliation with the Catholic Church: Johann Hülsemann
Johann Hülsemann
Johann Hülsemann was a German Lutheran theologian. He is known as one of the most prominent Lutheran scholastic opponents of Georgius Calixtus in the Syncretistic Controversy.-Early life and education:...

, Johann Georg Dorsche and Abraham Calovius
Abraham Calovius
Abraham Calovius was a Lutheran theologian, and was one of the champions of Lutheran orthodoxy in the 17th century.-Biography:...

 (1612–85) opposed the Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 Georg Calisen "Calixtus" (1586–1656) of the University of Helmstedt
University of Helmstedt
The University of Helmstedt, official Latin name: Academia Julia , was a university in Helmstedt in the Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel that existed from 1576 until 1810....

 for his "syncretism". (See: Syncretistic Controversy.)

Catholicism in Central and South America has integrated a number of elements derived from indigenous and slave cultures in those areas (see the Caribbean and modern sections); while many African Initiated Church
African Initiated Church
An African Initiated Church is any of a number of Christian churches independently started in Africa by Africans and not by missionaries from another continent, in which they sometimes hold to one or more African tribal belief systems syncretised with Christianity.-Nomenclature:A variety of...

es demonstrate an integration of Protestant and traditional African beliefs. In Asia the revolutionary movements of Taiping
Taiping Heavenly Kingdom
The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom was an oppositional state in China from 1851 to 1864, established by Hong Xiuquan, the leader of the Taiping Rebellion...

 (19th-century China) and God's Army
God's Army (revolutionary group)
God's Army is an armed, revolutionary Christian force that opposed the military government of Burma. The group was an offshoot of the Karen National Union...

 (Karen
Karen people
The Karen or Kayin people , are a Sino-Tibetan language speaking ethnic group which resides primarily in southern and southeastern Burma . The Karen make up approximately 7 percent of the total Burmese population of approximately 50 million people...

 in the 1990s) have blended Christianity and traditional beliefs. The Catholic Church allows some symbols and traditions to be carried over from older belief systems, so long as they are remade to fit into a Christian worldview; syncretism of other religions with Catholicism, such as Voudun or Santería
Santería
Santería is a syncretic religion of West African and Caribbean origin influenced by Roman Catholic Christianity, also known as Regla de Ocha, La Regla Lucumi, or Lukumi. Its liturgical language, a dialect of Yoruba, is also known as Lucumi....

, is condemned by the Church.

One can contrast Christian syncretism with contextualization
Contextualization
Contextualization may refer to:* Contextualization , the process of contextualising the biblical message as perceived in the missionary mandate originated by Jesus...

 or inculturation
Inculturation
Inculturation is a term used in Christianity, especially in the Roman Catholic Church, referring to the adaptation of the way Church teachings are presented to non-Christian cultures, and to the influence of those cultures on the evolution of these teachings....

, the practice of making Christianity relevant to a culture: Contextualisation does not address the doctrine but affects a change in the styles or expression of worship. Although Christians often took their European music and building styles into churches in other parts of the world, in a contextualization approach, they would build churches, sing songs, and pray in a local ethnic style. Some Jesuit missionaries adapted local systems and images to teach Christianity, as did the Portuguese in China.

In this view, syncretism implies compromising the message of Christianity by merging it with not just a culture, but another religion, common examples being animism
Animism
Animism refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle....

 or ancestor worship.

The Latter Day Saint movement
Latter Day Saint movement
The Latter Day Saint movement is a group of independent churches tracing their origin to a Christian primitivist movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in the late 1820s. Collectively, these churches have over 14 million members...

 can be framed as a syncretic outgrowth of main-line Christianity.

Syncretistic Controversy



The "Syncretistic Controversy" was the theological debate provoked by the efforts of Georg Calixt and his supporters to secure a basis on which the Lutherans could make overtures to the Roman Catholic and the Reformed Churches. It lasted from 1640 to 1686. Calixt, a professor at Helmstedt
University of Helmstedt
The University of Helmstedt, official Latin name: Academia Julia , was a university in Helmstedt in the Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel that existed from 1576 until 1810....

, had through travels in England, the Netherlands, Italy, and France, acquaintance with the different churches and their representatives, and extensive study, developed a more open attitude toward the different religious bodies than had the majority of his contemporary Lutheran theologians. While the latter firmly adhered to the "pure doctrine", Calixt tended not to regard doctrine as the one thing necessary for a Christian, nor did he regard all doctrine as equally certain and important. Consequently, he advocated unity between those who agreed on the fundamental minimum, with liberty as to all less fundamental points. In regard to Catholicism, he would have (as Melanchthon once would have) conceded to the pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 a primacy human in origin, and he also admitted that one might call the Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 a sacrifice
Sacrifice
Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals or people to God or the gods as an act of propitiation or worship.While sacrifice often implies ritual killing, the term offering can be used for bloodless sacrifices of cereal food or artifacts...

.

The theological faculties of Helmstedt
University of Helmstedt
The University of Helmstedt, official Latin name: Academia Julia , was a university in Helmstedt in the Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel that existed from 1576 until 1810....

, Rinteln
Rinteln
Rinteln is a small town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is located on the banks of the Weser river above the Porta Westfalica. Population: 28,500.It is accessed by the A2 autobahn .-History:...

, and Königsberg
University of Königsberg
The University of Königsberg was the university of Königsberg in East Prussia. It was founded in 1544 as second Protestant academy by Duke Albert of Prussia, and was commonly known as the Albertina....

 supported Calixt; opposed were those of Leipzig
University of Leipzig
The University of Leipzig , located in Leipzig in the Free State of Saxony, Germany, is one of the oldest universities in the world and the second-oldest university in Germany...

, Jena, Strasburg
University of Strasbourg
The University of Strasbourg in Strasbourg, Alsace, France, is the largest university in France, with about 43,000 students and over 4,000 researchers....

, Giessen
University of Giessen
The University of Giessen is officially called the Justus Liebig University Giessen after its most famous faculty member, Justus von Liebig, the founder of modern agricultural chemistry and inventor of artificial fertiliser.-History:The University of Gießen is among the oldest institutions of...

, Marburg, and Greifswald. Abraham Calov opposed Calixt. The Elector of Saxony, for political reasons, opposed the Reformed Church, because the other two secular elector
Prince-elector
The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire were the members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire, having the function of electing the Roman king or, from the middle of the 16th century onwards, directly the Holy Roman Emperor.The heir-apparent to a prince-elector was known as an...

s (Palatine and Brandenburg) were "reformed", and were competing with him. In 1649 he wrote to the three dukes of Brunswick, who maintained Helmstedt as their common university, and expressed the objections of his Lutheran professors, complaining that Calixt wished to extract the elements of truth from all religions, fuse all into a new religion, and provoke a schism.

In 1650 Calov became a professor at Wittenberg, and quickly attacked the Syncretists in Helmstedt. An outburst of polemical writings followed. In 1650 the dukes of Brunswick responded with the desire to limit the discord, and proposed a meeting of the political councillors. Saxony, however, did not favour this suggestion. An attempt to convene theologians was unsuccessful. The theologians of Wittenberg and Leipzig condemned 98 heresies of the Helmstedt theologians. They urged that this "Formula of Concord" be signed by everyone who wished to remain in the Lutheran Church. Outside Wittenberg and Leipzig, however, it was not accepted, and Calixt's death in 1656 ushered in five years of almost undisturbed peace.

The controversy broke out afresh in Hesse-Kassel
Hesse-Kassel
The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel or Hesse-Cassel was a state in the Holy Roman Empire under Imperial immediacy that came into existence when the Landgraviate of Hesse was divided in 1567 upon the death of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse. His eldest son William IV inherited the northern half and the...

, where Landgrave
Landgrave
Landgrave was a title used in the Holy Roman Empire and later on by its former territories. The title refers to a count who had feudal duty directly to the Holy Roman Emperor...

 William VI
William VI, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel
William VI, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel , known as William the Just, was Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel from 1637 to 1663.-Life:...

 sought to effect a union between his Lutheran and Reformed subjects, or at least to lessen their mutual hatred. In 1661 he had a colloquy held in Kassel between the Lutheran theologians of the University of Rinteln
Rinteln
Rinteln is a small town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is located on the banks of the Weser river above the Porta Westfalica. Population: 28,500.It is accessed by the A2 autobahn .-History:...

 and the Reformed theologians of the University of Marburg. Enraged at this revival of the syncretism of Calixt, the Wittenberg theologians called on the Rinteln professors to make their submission, whereupon the latter answered with a detailed defence. Another long series of polemical treatises followed.

In Brandenburg-Prussia in 1663, the Great Elector (Frederick William I) forbade preachers from speaking of the Evangelical disputes. A long colloquy in Berlin (September 1662 to May 1663) led only to fresh discord. Growing impatient, the Elector ended his conferences in 1664 and published another "syncretistic" edict. Since the edict disallowed the Formula of Concord
Formula of Concord
Formula of Concord is an authoritative Lutheran statement of faith that, in its two parts , makes up the final section of the Lutheran Corpus Doctrinae or Body of Doctrine, known as...

, one of the Lutheran Confessions as contained in the Book of Concord
Book of Concord
The Book of Concord or Concordia is the historic doctrinal standard of the Lutheran Church, consisting of ten credal documents recognized as authoritative in Lutheranism since the 16th century...

, many Lutheran clergy did not comply with the edict. Whoever refused to sign the form declaring his intention to observe this regulation was deprived of his position, including Paul Gerhardt
Paul Gerhardt
Paul Gerhardt was a German hymn writer.-Biography:Gerhardt was born into a middle-class family at Gräfenhainichen, a small town between Halle and Wittenberg. At the age of fifteen, he entered the Fürstenschule in Grimma. The school was known for its pious atmosphere and stern discipline...

, a pastor and noted hymnwriter. The citizens of Berlin petitioned to have him restored, and owing to their repeated requests, the Elector made an exception for Gerhardt. His conscience did not allow him to retain the post and Gernardt lived in Berlin for more than a year without fixed employment. During this time his wife also died, leaving him with one surviving child. The Elector withdrew the edict a few months later, but Gerhardt's patroness, Electress Louisa Henrietta, had died, so he was still without a position.

Calixt's son, Friedrich Ulrich Calixt, defended his father's views against the Wittenberg theologians's calling his school "un-Lutheran" and heretical
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

. The younger Calixt tried to show that his father's doctrine did not differ much from that of his opponents. Wittenberg had a new champion in Ægidius Strauch, who attacked Calixt with all his resources of learning, polemics, and wit. The Helmstedt side was defended by the celebrated scholar and statesman, Hermann Conring
Hermann Conring
Hermann Conring was a German intellectual. He made significant contributions to the study of medicine, politics and law....

. The Saxon princes recognized that trying to carry through the "Consensus" might lead to a fresh schism in the Lutheran Church, and endanger its position related to Catholic power. They forbade the Saxon theologians from continuing the controversy in writing. Negotiations for peace then resulted, with Duke Ernst the Pious of Saxe-Gotha
Saxe-Gotha
Saxe-Gotha was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine of the Wettin dynasty in the former Landgraviate of Thuringia. The ducal residence was erected at Gotha....

 especially active. They considered creating a permanent college of theologians to decide theological disputes. However, the negotiations with the courts of Brunswick, Mecklenburg, Denmark, and Sweden remained as fruitless as those with the theological faculties, except that peace was maintained until 1675.

Calov
Abraham Calovius
Abraham Calovius was a Lutheran theologian, and was one of the champions of Lutheran orthodoxy in the 17th century.-Biography:...

  renewed hostilities. He attacked not only Calixt, but also and particularly the moderate John Musæus of Jena. Calov succeeded in having the University of Jena and Musæus compelled to renounce syncretism. But this was his last victory. The Elector renewed his prohibition against polemical writings. Calov seemed to give way for a time. Although he returned to his attack on the syncretists, he died in 1686, and the controversy ended.

The Syncretist Controversy had the result of lessening religious hatred and of promoting mutual forbearance. Catholicism
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 benefited, as some Protestants came to better understand and appreciate it. In Protestant theology, it prepared the way for the sentimental theology of Pietism
Pietism
Pietism was a movement within Lutheranism, lasting from the late 17th century to the mid-18th century and later. It proved to be very influential throughout Protestantism and Anabaptism, inspiring not only Anglican priest John Wesley to begin the Methodist movement, but also Alexander Mack to...

 to become more popular than Lutheran orthodoxy
Lutheran Orthodoxy
Lutheran orthodoxy was an era in the history of Lutheranism, which began in 1580 from the writing of the Book of Concord and ended at the Age of Enlightenment. Lutheran orthodoxy was paralleled by similar eras in Calvinism and tridentine Roman Catholicism after the...

.

Islam


The mystical tradition in Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, known as Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 appears somewhat syncretic in nature, not only in its origins
History of Sufism
Sufism is a mystic and ascetic movement which originated in the Golden Age of Islam, from about the 9th to 10th centuries.The emergence of Sufism is a consequence of the wide geographical spread of Islam after the Rashidun conquests, and the resulting absorption of a wide range of mystic traditions...

 but also in its beliefs since it espouses the concepts of Wahdat-al-Wujud and Wahdat-al-Shuhud that are, to a great extent, synonymous to Pantheism
Pantheism
Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

 and Panentheism
Panentheism
Panentheism is a belief system which posits that God exists, interpenetrates every part of nature and timelessly extends beyond it...

 and sometimes Monism
Monism
Monism is any philosophical view which holds that there is unity in a given field of inquiry. Accordingly, some philosophers may hold that the universe is one rather than dualistic or pluralistic...

 although the traditional Islamic belief system reject them and stress on strict monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 called Tawhid
Tawhid
Tawhid is the concept of monotheism in Islam. It is the religion's most fundamental concept and holds God is one and unique ....

.

Druze religion


The Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

s integrated elements of Ismaili
Ismaili
' is a branch of Shia Islam. It is the second largest branch of Shia Islam, after the Twelvers...

 Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 with Gnosticism
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

 and Platonism
Platonism
Platonism is the philosophy of Plato or the name of other philosophical systems considered closely derived from it. In a narrower sense the term might indicate the doctrine of Platonic realism...

.

Barghawata


The Barghawata kingdom followed a syncretic religion inspired by Islam (perhaps influenced by Judaism) with elements of Sunni, Shi'ite and Kharijite Islam, mixed with astrological and heathen traditions. Supposedly, they had their own Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 in the Berber language comprising 80 suras under the leadership of the second ruler of the dynasty Salih ibn Tarif
Salih ibn Tarif
' was the second king of the Berghouata Berber kingdom, and proclaimed himself a prophet of a new religion. He appeared during the caliphate of Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik in 744 AD...

 who had taken part in the Maysara uprising. He proclaimed himself a prophet. He also claimed to be the final Mahdi
Mahdi
In Islamic eschatology, the Mahdi is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will stay on Earth for seven, nine or nineteen years- before the Day of Judgment and, alongside Jesus, will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny.In Shia Islam, the belief in the Mahdi is a "central religious...

, and that Isa
ISA
Isa is the name by which Jesus is known in the Muslim world.Isa may also refer to:* Isha Upanishad, Hindu religious text* Isa , 2004 album by Enslaved* Isa , common Arabic and Turkish male name...

 (Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

) would be his companion and pray behind him.

Bahá'í Faith


The Bahá'ís
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 follow Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh , born ' , was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and...

, a prophet whom they consider a successor to Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

, Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

, Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

, Zoroaster
Zoroaster
Zoroaster , also known as Zarathustra , was a prophet and the founder of Zoroastrianism who was either born in North Western or Eastern Iran. He is credited with the authorship of the Yasna Haptanghaiti as well as the Gathas, hymns which are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrianism...

, and Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

. This acceptance of other religious founders has encouraged some to regard the Bahá'í religion as a syncretic faith. However, Bahá'ís and the Bahá'í writings explicitly reject this view. Bahá'ís consider Bahá'u'lláh's revelation an independent, though related, revelation from God. Its relationship to previous dispensations
Dispensationalism
Dispensationalism is a nineteenth-century evangelical development based on a futurist biblical hermeneutic that sees a series of chronologically successive "dispensations" or periods in history in which God relates to human beings in different ways under different Biblical covenants.As a system,...

 is seen as analogous to the relationship of Christianity to Judaism. They regard beliefs held in common as evidence of truth, progressively revealed by God throughout human history, and culminating in (at present) the Bahá'í revelation. Bahá'ís have their own sacred scripture, interpretations, laws and practices that, for Bahá'ís, supersede those of other faiths.

Caribbean religions and cultures


The process of syncretism in the Caribbean region often forms a part of cultural creolization. (The technical term "Creole
Creole peoples
The term Creole and its cognates in other languages — such as crioulo, criollo, créole, kriolu, criol, kreyol, kreol, kriulo, kriol, krio, etc. — have been applied to people in different countries and epochs, with rather different meanings...

" may apply to anyone born and raised in the region, regardless of ethnicity.) The shared histories of the Caribbean islands include long periods of European Imperialism
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

 (mainly by Spain, France, and the United Kingdom) and the importation of African slaves (primarily from Central and Western Africa). The influences of each of the above interacted in varying degrees on the islands, producing the fabric of society that exists today in the Caribbean.

The Rastafari movement
Rastafari movement
The Rastafari movement or Rasta is a new religious movement that arose in the 1930s in Jamaica, which at the time was a country with a predominantly Christian culture where 98% of the people were the black descendants of slaves. Its adherents worship Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia , as God...

, founded in Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

, syncretizes vigorously, mixing elements from the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, Marcus Garvey
Marcus Garvey
Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., ONH was a Jamaican publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator who was a staunch proponent of the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, to which end he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League...

's Pan Africanism movement, Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, and Caribbean culture.

Another highly syncretic religion of the area, vodou, combines elements of Western African, native Caribbean, and Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 (especially Roman Catholic) beliefs.

See the modern section for other Caribbean syncretisms.

Indian traditions


Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 in ancient India have made many adaptations over the millennia, assimilating elements of various diverse religious traditions. One example of this is the Yoga Vasistha
Yoga Vasistha
Yoga Vasistha is a Hindu spiritual text traditionally attributed to Valmiki. It recounts a discourse of the sage Vasistha to a young Prince Rama, during a period when the latter is in a dejected state...

.

The Mughal
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 emperor Akbar, who wanted to consolidate the diverse religious communities in his empire, propounded Din-i-Ilahi
Din-i-Ilahi
The Dīn-i Ilāhī was a syncretic religious doctrine propounded by the Mughal emperor Jalālu d-Dīn Muḥammad Akbar , who ruled the Indian subcontinent from 1556 to 1605, intending to merge the best elements of the religions of his empire, and thereby reconcile the differences that divided his subjects...

, a syncretic religion intended to merge the best elements of the religions of his empire

Meivazhi
Meivazhi
Meivazhi is a syncretic monotheistic religion based in Tamil Nadu, India. Its focus is spiritual enlightenment and the conquering of death, through the teachings and example of its founder and leader, Brahma Prakasa Salai Andavargal, believed to be the incarnation of God expected by all religious...

 (Tamil: மெய்வழி) is a syncretic monotheistic minority religion based in Tamil Nadu, India. Its focus is spiritual enlightenment and the conquering of death, through the teachings. Mevaizhi preaches the Oneness of essence message of all the previous major scriptures - particularly Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity - allowing membership regardless of creed. Meivazhi's disciples are thousands of people belonging once to 69 different castes of different religions being united as one family of Meivazhi Religion.

Sikhism
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

 is a syncrentic monotheistic religion consisting of the Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 concepts of reincarnation
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

 and monotheism.

Other modern syncretic religions


Recently developed religious systems that exhibit marked syncretism include the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 religions Candomblé
Candomblé
Candomblé is an African-originated or Afro-Brazilian religion, practised chiefly in Brazil by the "povo de santo" . It originated in the cities of Salvador, the capital of Bahia and Cachoeira, at the time one of the main commercial crossroads for the distribution of products and slave trade to...

, Vodou and Santería
Santería
Santería is a syncretic religion of West African and Caribbean origin influenced by Roman Catholic Christianity, also known as Regla de Ocha, La Regla Lucumi, or Lukumi. Its liturgical language, a dialect of Yoruba, is also known as Lucumi....

, which analogize various Yorùbá
Yoruba mythology
The Yorùbá religion comprises the original religious beliefs and practices of the Yoruba people. Its homeland is in Southwestern Nigeria and the adjoining parts of Benin and Togo, a region that has come to be known as Yorubaland...

 and other African deities to the Roman Catholic saints. Some sects of Candomblé have also incorporated Native American deities
Native American deities
- Abenaki :*Azeban - trickster*Bmola - bird spirit*Gluskab - kind protector of humanity*Malsumis - cruel, evil god*Tabaldak - the creator- Haida :*Gyhldeptis*Lagua*Nankil'slas*Sin*Ta'xet*Tia- Hopi :* Aholi* Angwusnasomtaka* Kokopelli* Koyangwuti...

, and Umbanda
Umbanda
Umbanda is an Afro-Brazilian religion that blends African religions with Catholicism, Spiritism and Kardecism, and considerable indigenous lore....

 combined African deities with Kardecist
Spiritism
Spiritism is a loose corpus of religious faiths having in common the general belief in the survival of a spirit after death. In a stricter sense, it is the religion, beliefs and practices of the people affiliated to the International Spiritist Union, based on the works of Allan Kardec and others...

 spiritualism
Spiritualism
Spiritualism is a belief system or religion, postulating the belief that spirits of the dead residing in the spirit world have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living...

.

Hoodoo
Hoodoo
Hoodoo, also known as conjure, is a form of predominantly African-American traditional folk magic that developed from the syncretism of a number of separate cultures and magical traditions. It incorporates practices from African and Native American traditions, as well as some European magical...

 is a similarly derived form of folk magic practiced by some African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 communities in the Southern United States
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

. Other traditions of syncretic folk religion in North America include Louisiana Voodoo
Louisiana Voodoo
Louisiana Voodoo, also known as New Orleans Voodoo, describes a set of underground religious practices which originated from the traditions of the African diaspora. It is a cultural form of the Afro-American religions which developed within the French, Spanish, and Creole speaking African American...

 as well as Pennsylvania Dutch
Pennsylvania Dutch
Pennsylvania Dutch refers to immigrants and their descendants from southwestern Germany and Switzerland who settled in Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th centuries...

 Pow-wow
Pow-wow (folk magic)
Pow-wow is a system of American folk religion and magic associated with the Pennsylvania Dutch.-Origin of the name and practices:Its name comes from the book Pow-wows, or, The Long Lost Friend, written by John George Hohman and first published in German as Der Lange Verborgene Freund in 1820...

, in which practitioners profess to invoke power through the Christian God.

Many historical Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 religious movements have incorporated Christian European influence, like the Native American Church
Native American Church
Native American Church, a religious denomination which practices Peyotism or the Peyote religion, originated in the U.S. state of Oklahoma, and is the most widespread indigenous religion among Native Americans in the United States...

, the Ghost Dance
Ghost Dance
The Ghost Dance was a new religious movement which was incorporated into numerous Native American belief systems. The traditional ritual used in the Ghost Dance, the circle dance, has been used by many Native Americans since prehistoric times...

, and the religion of Handsome Lake
Handsome Lake
Handsome Lake was a Seneca religious leader of the Iroquois people. He was also half-brother to Cornplanter....

.

Unitarian Universalism
Unitarian Universalism
Unitarian Universalism is a religion characterized by support for a "free and responsible search for truth and meaning". Unitarian Universalists do not share a creed; rather, they are unified by their shared search for spiritual growth and by the understanding that an individual's theology is a...

 also provides an example of a modern syncretic religion. It traces its roots to Universalist
Universalism
Universalism in its primary meaning refers to religious, theological, and philosophical concepts with universal application or applicability...

 and Unitarian
Unitarianism
Unitarianism is a Christian theological movement, named for its understanding of God as one person, in direct contrast to Trinitarianism which defines God as three persons coexisting consubstantially as one in being....

 Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 congregations. However, modern Unitarian Universalism freely incorporates elements from other religious and non-religious traditions, so that it no longer identifies as "Christian."

Theosophy
Theosophy
Theosophy, in its modern presentation, is a spiritual philosophy developed since the late 19th century. Its major themes were originally described mainly by Helena Blavatsky , co-founder of the Theosophical Society...

 and the Theosophy-based Ascended Master Teachings
Ascended Master Teachings
The students of "Ascended Master Teachings" organizations believe that the Presence of Life/God - Individualizes as the "I AM", and incarnates throughout the created universes until it achieves The Ascension . The "Teachings" as all Religious Teachings.....

 are syncretic religions that combine deities primarily from Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 and Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 into an elaborate Spiritual Hierarchy
Spiritual Hierarchy
Spiritual Hierarchy is a term often used in Neo-Theosophy, and the Ascended Master Teachings, a group of religions based on Theosophy. It represents the concept of a group of self-realised Masters of the Ancient Wisdom, referred to by those adherent to the Ascended Master Teachings as Ascended...

.

Universal Sufism
Universal Sufism
Universal Sufism is a universalist spiritual movement founded by Hazrat Inayat Khan while traveling throughout the West between 1910 and 1926, based on unity of all people and religions and the presence of spiritual guidance in all people, places and things. It is to some extent influenced by the ...

 seeks the unity
Cultural identity
Cultural identity is the identity of a group or culture, or of an individual as far as one is influenced by one's belonging to a group or culture. Cultural identity is similar to and has overlaps with, but is not synonymous with, identity politics....

 of all people and religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

s. Universal Sufis strive to "realize and spread the knowledge of Unity, the religion of Love, and Wisdom, so that the biases and prejudices of faiths and beliefs may, of themselves, fall away, the human heart overflow with love, and all hatred caused by distinctions and differences be rooted out."

In Vietnam, Caodaism blends elements of Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, Catholicism and Kardecism.

Several new Japanese religions, (such as Konkokyo
Konkokyo
or just Konko, is a new religion of Japanese origin also regarded as a type of Sect Shinto. It is a syncretic, henotheistic and panentheistic religion, which worships God under the name of Tenchi Kane No Kami, the Golden God of Heaven and Earth. Tenchi Kane No Kami is also referred to as Kami, or...

 and Seicho-No-Ie
Seicho-No-Ie
Seicho-no-Ie, sometimes rendered Seicho-no Iye , is a syncretic, nondenominational, monotheistic, New Thought religion, one of the Shinshūkyō in Japan that have spread since the end of World War II...

), are syncretistic.

The Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

n religion Chrislam
Chrislam
Chrislam , or The Will of God Mission, The True Message of God Mission, , Oke-Tude which means The Mountain of Loosing Bondage in Yoruba or Ifeoluwa Mission , is a Nigerian syncretic religion which mixes elements of both Christianity and Islam.Founded by Tela Tella in the 1970s, the sect...

 combines Christian and Islamic doctrines.

Thelema
Thelema
Thelema is a religious philosophy that was established, defined and developed by the early 20th century British writer and ceremonial magician, Aleister Crowley. He believed himself to be the prophet of a new age, the Æon of Horus, based upon a religious experience that he had in Egypt in 1904...

 is a mixture of many different schools of belief and practice, including Hermeticism
Hermeticism
Hermeticism or the Western Hermetic Tradition is a set of philosophical and religious beliefs based primarily upon the pseudepigraphical writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus...

, Eastern Mysticism
Mysticism
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

, Yoga
Yoga
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on Supersoul...

, 19th century libertarian
Libertarianism
Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

 philosophies (e.g. Nietzsche), occultism, and the Kabbalah
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

, as well as ancient Egyptian and Greek
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 religion.

Examples of strongly syncretist Romantic
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 and modern movements with some religious elements include mysticism
Mysticism
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

, occultism, theosophy
Theosophy
Theosophy, in its modern presentation, is a spiritual philosophy developed since the late 19th century. Its major themes were originally described mainly by Helena Blavatsky , co-founder of the Theosophical Society...

, modern astrology
Astrology
Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world...

, Neopaganism
Neopaganism
Neopaganism is an umbrella term used to identify a wide variety of modern religious movements, particularly those influenced by or claiming to be derived from the various pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe...

, and the New Age
New Age
The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as "drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and then infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational...

 movement.

In China, most of the population follows syncretist religions combining Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

 and elements of Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

. Out of all Chinese believers, approximately 85.7% adhere to Chinese traditional religion, as many profess to be both Mahayana Buddhist and Taoist at the same time. Many of the pagodas in China are dedicated to both Buddhist and Taoist deities.

In Réunion
Réunion
Réunion is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about south west of Mauritius, the nearest island.Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France...

, the Malbars
Malbars
Malbars are an ethnic group of Tamil origin in Réunion, a French island in the Southwest Indian Ocean, estimated to number 180,000. There are no official figures because the French government does not collect census data on ethnic groups....

 combine elements of Hinduism and Christianity.

The Unification Church
Unification Church
The Unification Church is a new religious movement founded by Korean religious leader Sun Myung Moon. In 1954, the Unification Church was formally and legally established in Seoul, South Korea, as The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity . In 1994, Moon gave the church...

, founded by religious leader Sun Myung Moon
Sun Myung Moon
Sun Myung Moon is the Korean founder and leader of the worldwide Unification Church. He is also the founder of many other organizations and projects...

 in South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 in 1954. Its teachings are based on the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, but include new interpretations not found in mainstream Judaism and Christianity and incorporates Asian traditions.

Enlightenment


The modern, rational non-pejorative connotations of syncretism date from Denis Diderot
Denis Diderot
Denis Diderot was a French philosopher, art critic, and writer. He was a prominent person during the Enlightenment and is best known for serving as co-founder and chief editor of and contributor to the Encyclopédie....

's Encyclopédie
Encyclopédie
Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers was a general encyclopedia published in France between 1751 and 1772, with later supplements, revised editions, and translations. It was edited by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert...

articles: Eclecticisme and Syncrétistes, Hénotiques, ou Conciliateurs. Diderot portrayed syncretism as the concordance of eclectic sources.

Fiction

  • Orange Catholic Bible
    Orange Catholic Bible
    The Orange Catholic Bible is a fictional book from the Dune universe created by Frank Herbert...

    , Zensunni
    Zensunni
    The Religions of Dune are a key aspect of the fictional setting of the Dune universe created by Frank Herbert. Many of the names of religions mentioned in the novels indicate they are blends of current belief systems, some syncretic....

    , and Zensufi, all from the 20th-century science fiction
    Science fiction
    Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

     Dune
    Dune
    In physical geography, a dune is a hill of sand built by wind. Dunes occur in different forms and sizes, formed by interaction with the wind. Most kinds of dunes are longer on the windward side where the sand is pushed up the dune and have a shorter "slip face" in the lee of the wind...

    series by Frank Herbert
    Frank Herbert
    Franklin Patrick Herbert, Jr. was a critically acclaimed and commercially successful American science fiction author. Although a short story author, he is best known for his novels, most notably Dune and its five sequels...

    .
  • Life of Pi
    Life of Pi
    Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel published in 2001. The protagonist, Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel, an Indian boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of spirituality and practicality from an early age...

    (2001) by Yann Martel
    Yann Martel
    Yann Martel is a Canadian author best known for the Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi.-Early life:Martel was born in Salamanca, Spain where his father was posted as a diplomat for the Canadian government. He was raised in Costa Rica, France, Mexico, and Canada...

  • Brave New World
    Brave New World
    Brave New World is Aldous Huxley's fifth novel, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Set in London of AD 2540 , the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology and sleep-learning that combine to change society. The future society is an embodiment of the ideals that form the basis of...

    (1932) by Aldous Huxley
    Aldous Huxley
    Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel...

  • The First Amalgamated Church in Futurama
    Futurama
    Futurama is an American animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening and developed by Groening and David X. Cohen for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series follows the adventures of a late 20th-century New York City pizza delivery boy, Philip J...


New media art


See also


  • Hermeneutics
  • New religious movement
    New religious movement
    A new religious movement is a religious community or ethical, spiritual, or philosophical group of modern origin, which has a peripheral place within the dominant religious culture. NRMs may be novel in origin or they may be part of a wider religion, such as Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism, in...

  • Three teachings
    Three teachings
    In Chinese philosophy, the three teachings , are usually Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism when considered as a harmonious aggregate. The term may also refer to a non-religious philosophy built on that aggregation.-History:...

    (Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism)