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Muslims and Christians in the Bulgarian Rhodopes. by Magdalena Lubanska

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2 Religious Syncretism: History of the Concept; the Subject of Research

2.1  Theories of Religious Syncretism: State of Research

The first known use of term “syncretism”87 appears in Plutarch’s Moralia in a reference to the Cretan practice of putting internal differences aside in the face of external threats, a policy termed “syncretism” (chapter De fraterno amore, Moralia

2.490b). It is worth noting that the concept has political connotations from the very beginning: brotherly love is portrayed by Plutarch as a kind of political strategy aimed at maximising the chances of a group’s survival. It is not clear whether the term in Plutarch was a pre-existing concept or a new coinage (Shaw, Stewart 1994, p. 3).

The term “syncretism” entered public ...

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