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The notion “syncretism” came to Russian religious studies from the West in a more or less definite sense. In the dictionary “Religious Studies” it is defined as “the state of a religious phenomenon characterized by the non-allocation of qualitatively different elements or their mixing into an internally contradictory system”. However, in English-language studies, the question of interpretation of the term still causes serious debate today, and this is no accident: the problem of the meaning of a seemingly ordinary notion for a long period of time in the works of European scholars was realized through the prism of the attitude of one or another researcher to the phenomenon of religious syncretism as such. This circumstance has led to the fact that so far in European religious studies there is no uniquely fixed definition of "syncretism". Religious scholars of the 20th century were divided into two spontaneous camps: some suggested replacing it with more neutral in their opinion, synonyms, such as “synthesis”, “inculturation”, “multiculturalism”, even a little awkward for the Russian ear “bricolage”, while others, on the contrary, considered it necessary to wash away its negative connotation and return it to an active scientific dictionary. In Russian studies, “syncretism” is replaced (and sometimes combined with it) by such close-meaning terms as “folk religion” and “dual faith”. The latter will be discussed in more detail below, but first we turn to the history of the concept of “syncretism” in Western European and American science.

Keywords: religious syncretism, bricolage, inculturation, Western European studies, dual faith

DOI: 10.22250/2072-8662.2020.2.42-52

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About the author 

Marina O. Sidakova – PhD student of Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy of Religion and Religious Studies;
GSP-1, 27-4 Lomonosovsky prosp., Moscow, Russia, 119991; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.