Religious syncretism - Wikipedia
Religious syncretism, the fusion of diverse religious beliefs and practices. Instances of religious syncretism—as, for example, Gnosticism (a religious dualistic. Religious syncretism exhibits blending of two or more religious belief systems into a new .. Its relationship to previous dispensations is seen as analogous to the relationship of Christianity to Judaism. They regard beliefs held in common as . Syncretism is the blending of cultures and ideas from different places. Question : What examples of religious or cultural syncretism can you think of in your life today? The linear nature of the relationship indicated that the exponents for both.
A reproduction of a stone tablet found in a Christian monastery in 13th-century Beijing. Wikimedia Commons Faiths, cultures, and customs bounce off of and combine with one another in a process called syncretism. We're going to discuss this notion by trying to answer the question: Silk, spices, and diseases weren't the only things carried along the Silk Road ; nomadic merchants carried philosophies and faiths, too.
Buddhism and Christianity traveled along trade routes as surely as lapis, pepper, and plague; they changed and adapted the cultures they encountered. As a Daoist might say, however, just as water changes its shape to fit the vessel, so too do faiths and ideologies change to fit the shapes and contexts of the cultures that adopt them.
Trade networks and expansion of classical empires As the Eurasian empires of antiquity expanded, so did their trade routes and networks of communication. The growth of classical empires meant that exchanges of cultures and ideas became possible and more common. Christianity Early Christians managed to turn Roman infrastructure to their advantage: By the eleventh century CE, fully one-third of the world's Christians lived in Asia. The image shows a Roman road paved with cobblestones with grass growing through the cracks.
The surrounding countryside is a row of trees on the right, a low stone wall on the left, and green hills and pasture in the distance.
Ancient Roman road near Tall Aqibrin in Syria. Many of these Syriac-speaking Christians were Nestorians, a branch of Christianity branded as heresy—out of line with accepted teachings—by both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.
Nestorians held that Jesus Christ was composed of distinct human and divine natures. Even before the Council of Ephesus in CE, when Nestorianism was deemed heretical, Christians in Asia and Asia Minor drew religious inspiration from the other faiths that surrounded them.
For example, early Christian ascetics were influenced by the self-denying practices of Jewish, Hindu, and Buddhist mystics; some spent many years in seclusion. One such Christian mystic, St. Simeon Stylites, spent 37 years living by himself atop a pillar in Syria. There were major Nestorian centers from Jerusalem to Beijing and Xi'an, and bishoprics areas controlled by bishops were scattered along the Silk Road like beads in a strand.
Timothy I, a Patriarch of the Church of the East, oversaw the establishment of a church center in Tibet. Map of the Church of the East in the Middle Ages. Map shows western Africa and Saudi Arabia to the west, and China to the east. Shows regions and tribes influenced by the Church of the East in that area. Church of the East in the Middle Ages. The monument describes Christ in Buddhist language: White Chinese characters on a black rectangular background; the Nestorian cross is at the very top inside a triangle.
A rubbing of the Nestorian Stele. What does the Nestorian Stele tell us about Christianity in a Chinese context? When studying Christianity in Central Asia, why might it be useful to talk about Christianity in Buddhist terms?
Buddhism In India, many members of the merchant caste were practicing Buddhists. They talked to people as they traveled and traded. As Buddhism spread, the people who adopted the religion did so within the context of their own cultures. For example, Mahayana Buddhism was much more popular in China than it was in India, where Buddhist monks engaged in stricter, more ascetic practices and placed a higher value on meditation. A lifetime of meditation practice was difficult for an ordinary person to achieve.
Mahayana, literally meaning the great vehicle, was a more accessible form of Buddhism in which people could engage in acts of devotion—such as paying for religious verses—in order to attain salvation. This more approachable version of the religion offered by missionaries and merchants allowed Buddhism to gain a greater foothold in places like China. Its universal message about attaining salvation was appealing to people and was easy for diverse cultures to adopt.
Furthermore, Mahayana Buddhism made allowances for incorporating existing cultures and practices into its philosophy. Ares does not quite match Mars. The Romans physically imported the Anatolian goddess Cybele into Rome from her Anatolian cult-center Pessinos in the form of her original aniconic archaic stone idol ; they identified her as Magna Mater and gave her a matronly, iconic image developed in Hellenistic Pergamum.
Likewise, when the Romans encountered Celts and Germanic peoplesthey mingled these peoples' gods with their own, creating Sulis MinervaApollo Sucellos Apollo the Good Smiter and Mars Thingsus Mars of the war-assemblyamong many others. Romans were familiar with the concept of syncretism because from their earliest times they had experienced it with, among others, the Greeks.
The Romans incorporated the originally Greek Apollo and Hercules into their religion. They did not look at the religious aspects that they adopted from other cultures to be different or less meaningful from religious aspects that were Roman in origin.
Syncretism (article) | Khan Academy
The early Roman acceptance of other cultures religions into their own made it easy for them to integrate the newly encountered religions they found as a result of their expansion. Orthodox Christians have always insisted that matter is essentially good, since, as they believe, God created all things, both spiritual and material,  and said that it was "very good".
He was denounced by many Church authorities, including Peter himself, and is regarded by some[ who? The Roman emperors used syncretism to help unite the expanding empire.
It became even more effective when missionaries concurred with established cultural traditions and interlaced them into a fundamentally Christian synthesis. Augustine of Hippo is remembered for assimilating the ideas of Plato, while Thomas Aquinas is known for doing so with the ideas of Aristotle.
In his essay on the development of Christian doctrine,  John Henry Newman clarified the idea of assimilation.