The article deals with the history of studying of religious syncretism in national and foreign science. During historical development syncretism undergoes certain step changes, but doesn't disappear; in present conditions of globalization, postmodernism, and pluralistic moods there is an essential shift of religious and worldview paradigms leading to a new interpretation of religious traditions, doctrines, and ideas. There is also increasing interest in religion in its nonconventional and syncretic manifestation. In this paper, the author submits the most significant or characteristic national (Soviet, Russian) and foreign publications on the subject, considering features of the studying in terms of national and foreign study of religion according to historical types of syncretization; defines the concept of religious syncretism; reconstructs special features and properties of the phenomenon. The paper allocates several historical types of religious syncretism: 1) “primary”, or genetic syncretism typical of primitive communities; 2) “secondary” syncretism representing synthesis of several (two or three) religious traditions, different in the level of development, and being both a consequence of ethnocultural interactions and gains, and intentional loan (e.g., for political reasons); 3) “tertiary” syncretism, or postmodern syncretism, which is characterized by free mixture of many different fragments of religion, philosophy, culture, science, art, etc. The author also raises the question of neo-mythology and allocates the special place to the phenomenon of individual religiosity.
Key words: religious syncretism, syncretization, postmodernism, individual religiosity, anthropology of religion, history of religious studies
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