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Muslims and Christians in the Bulgarian Rhodopes.

Book Description

The book by Magdalena Lubanska examines the role of religious syncretism in the social and religious life of Muslim-Christian communities in the Western Rhodopes. The author is interested mainly in the origins and motivations of various beliefs and behaviors which at first sight may appear to be syncretic. She looks at syncretism in the context of anti-syncretic tendencies, particularly pronounced among the Muslim neophytes and young members of the Muslim religious elite, who are not interested in the local forms of post-ottoman Islam (“Adat Islam”), preferring instead a “pure” form of religion, a class of fundamentalist religious movements rooted in orthodox Islam and seeking to remain faithful to mainstream Islamic thought and tradition (“Salafi Islam”). Lubanska findings offer an insight into the fact that although certain actions may appear syncretic in nature, their underlying intentions are often not in fact motivated by syncretic tendencies. This is the first study to look at syncretism in Bulgaria from this perspective.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Glossary of Religious Terms
  3. 1 Introduction
  4. 1.1 Research Method
  5. 1.2 Transliteration, Spelling and Terminology
  6. 1.3 Field Research and Methodology
  7. 1.3.1 Ribnovo
  8. 1.3.2 Satovcha
  9. 1.3.3 Garmen
  10. 1.4 The Respondents
  11. 1.4.1 Bulgarian-Speaking Muslims (Pomaks)
  12. 1.4.2 Orthodox Christians
  13. 2 Religious Syncretism: History of the Concept; the Subject of Research
  14. 2.1 Theories of Religious Syncretism: State of Research
  15. 2.2 Problems in Studying Muslim-Christian Syncretism in Bulgaria and South-Eastern Europe
  16. 3 Komshuluk (Good Relations Between Neighbours) and Ressentiment Against Members of a Different Religion
  17. 3.1 Komshuluk as a Cultural Strategy of Peaceful Coxistence
  18. 3.2 The Narrative of Komshuluk
  19. 3.3 The Limits of Komshuluk
  20. 3.4 The Ressentiment Narrative
  21. 3.5 “The Politicians are to Blame for All of This”
  22. 4 “Adat Orthodox Christianity”
  23. 4.1 Kurban in the Religious Life of Christian Respondents
  24. 5 The Muslims: “Adat Islam” and “Salafi Islam”
  25. 5.1 “Adat Islam”
  26. 5.1.1 Elements of Ritual Practices from the Orthodox Christian Calendar in the Religious Life of the Pomaks
  27. 5.1.2 Incubation in St. George’s Church in Hadzhidimovo
  28. 5.2 “Salafi Islam”
  29. 5.2.1 Attitudes Towards “Adat Islam”
  30. 5.2.2 Attitudes Towards “the West”
  31. 6 Muslim Religious Narratives and Perceptions of Christianity
  32. 6.1 Christians as “Perjurers” and “Adam and Hawwa’s Worse Children”
  33. 6.2 Worshippers of an “Inferior Book”? Muslims, Christians and a Dispute over God’s True Word
  34. 6.3 Christianity as a Religion Based on “Misunderstanding” and “a False Cult of the Son of God”
  35. 6.3.1 The Heresies of the Apostle Paul
  36. 6.3.2 Narratives Questioning the Christian Cult of the Cross
  37. 6.3.3 The Pernicious Reforms of Pope Gregory I
  38. 7 Christian Narratives About Bulgarian-Speaking Muslims
  39. 7.1 “Purest-Bred Bulgarians” or “Conformists and Traitors”?
  40. 7.2 “Crypto-Christians” or Poturcheni (“People turned Turk”)?
  41. 7.2.1 The Pomaks as Crypto-Christians
  42. 7.2.2 The Pomaks: Poturcheni (“People Turned Turk”) or “People of the Orient”?
  43. 8 Christian Perceptions of Pomak Religious Life
  44. 8.1 Stories of Healing and Muslim Behavior in Christian Sacred Places
  45. 8.2 Muslim and Christian Rituals
  46. 8.3 “The Orthodox Christian Muslim” – the “Syncretist” from “Vodino”
  47. 9 Seeking Healing from Members of a Different Religion as a Case Against Religious Syncretism
  48. 10 Conclusions
  49. 10.1 ‘’Shallow’’ Syncretism
  50. 10.1.1 Syncretism Resulting from Fear and Fascination with the Alien Numinosum: Visiting the Holy Sites of the Other Religion
  51. 10.1.2 Syncretism as a Symptom of Komshuluk
  52. 10.1.3 Syncretism as a Proselytizing Strategy
  53. 10.2 “Deep” Syncretism
  54. Bibliography
  55. Index