Adam is the name used in the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis and in the Quran for the first man created by God, but it is used in a collective sense as "mankind" and individually as "a human". Biblical Adam is created from adamah, Genesis 1–8 makes considerable play of the bond between them, for Adam is estranged from the earth through his disobedience; the majority view among scholars is that the book of Genesis dates from the Persian period, but the absence from the rest of the Hebrew Bible of all the other characters and incidents mentioned in chapters 1–11 of Genesis, has led a sizable minority to the conclusion that Genesis 1–11 was composed much possibly in the 3rd century BCE. The Bible uses the word אָדָם in all of its senses: collectively, gender nonspecific, male. In Genesis 1:27 "adam" is used in the collective sense, the interplay between the individual "Adam" and the collective "humankind" is a main literary component to the events that occur in the Garden of Eden, the ambiguous meanings embedded throughout the moral and spiritual terms of the narrative reflecting the complexity of the human condition.
Genesis 2:7 is the first verse where "Adam" takes on the sense of an individual man, the context of sex is absent. A recurring literary motif is the bond between Adam and the earth: God creates Adam by molding him out of clay in the final stages of the creation narrative. After the loss of innocence, God curses the earth as punishment for his disobedience. Adam and humanity is cursed to return to the earth from which he was formed; this "earthly" aspect is a component of Adam's identity, Adam's curse of estrangement from the earth seems to describe humankind's divided nature of being earthly yet separated from nature. God himself who took of the dust from all four corners of the earth with each color created Adam therewith, where the soul of Adam is the image of God. Genesis 1 tells of God's creation of the world and its creatures, with humankind as the last of his creatures: "Male and female created He them, blessed them, called their name Adam...". God blesses mankind, commands them to "be fruitful and multiply", gives them "dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air, over the cattle, over all the earth, over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth".
In Genesis 2, God forms "Adam", this time meaning a single male human, out of "the dust of the ground" and "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life". God places this first man in the Garden of Eden, telling him that "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt die". God notes that "It is not good that the man should be alone" and brings the animals to Adam, who gives them their names, but among all the animals there was not found a companion for him. God causes a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and forms a woman, Adam awakes and greets her as his helpmate. Genesis 3, the story of the Fall: A serpent persuades the woman to disobey God's command and eat of the tree of knowledge, which gives wisdom. Woman convinces Adam to do whereupon they become conscious of their nakedness, cover themselves, hide from the sight of God. God questions Adam. God passes judgment, first upon the serpent, condemned to go on his belly the woman, condemned to pain in childbirth and subordination to her husband, Adam, condemned to labour on the earth for his food and to return to it on his death.
God expels the man and woman from the garden, lest they eat of the Tree of Life and become immortal. The chiastic structure of the death oracle given to Adam in Genesis 3:19 forms a link between man's creation from "dust" to the "return" of his beginnings. A you return B to the ground C since from it you were taken C' for dust you are B' and to dust A' you will returnGenesis 4 deals with the birth of Adam's sons Cain and Abel and the story of the first murder, followed by the birth of a third son, Seth. Genesis 5, the Book of the Generations of Adam, lists the descendants of Adam from Seth to Noah with their ages at the birth of their first sons and their ages at death; the chapter notes that Adam does not name them. Adam possessed a body of light. According to Jewish mystical tradition the original glory of Adam can be regained through mystical contemplation of God; the rabbis, puzzled by the verse of Genesis 1 which states that God created man and woman together, told that when God created Adam he created a woman from the dust, as he had created Adam, named her Lilith.
Haitian Vodou is a syncretic religion practiced chiefly in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. Practitioners are called "vodouists" or "servants of the spirits". Vodouists believe in unknowable Supreme Creator, Bondye. According to Vodouists, Bondye does not intercede in human affairs, thus they direct their worship toward spirits subservient to Bondye, called loa; every loa is responsible for a particular aspect of life, with the dynamic and changing personalities of each loa reflecting the many possibilities inherent to the aspects of life over which they preside. To navigate daily life, vodouists cultivate personal relationships with the loa through the presentation of offerings, the creation of personal altars and devotional objects, participation in elaborate ceremonies of music and spirit possession. Vodou originated in what is now Benin and developed in the French colonial empire in the 18th century among West African peoples who were enslaved, when African religious practice was suppressed, enslaved Africans were forced to convert to Christianity.
Religious practices of contemporary Vodou are descended from, related to, West African Vodun as practiced by the Fon and Ewe. Vodou incorporates elements and symbolism from other African peoples including the Yoruba and Kongo. In Haiti, some Catholics combine aspects of Catholicism with aspects of Vodou, a practice forbidden by the Church and denounced as diabolical by Haitian Protestants. Vodou is a Haitian Creole word that referred to only a small subset of Haitian rituals; the word derives from an Ayizo word referring to mysterious forces or powers that govern the world and the lives of those who reside within it, but a range of artistic forms that function in conjunction with these vodun energies. Two of the major speaking populations of Ayizo are the Ewe and the Fon—European slavers called both the Arada; these two peoples composed a sizable number of the early enslaved population in St. Dominique. In Haiti, practitioners use "Vodou" to refer to Haitian religion generically, but it is more common for practitioners to refer to themselves as those who "serve the spirits" by participating in ritual ceremonies called a "service to the loa" or an "African service".
These terms refer to the religion as a whole. Outside of Haiti, the term Vodou refers to the entirety of traditional Haitian religious practice. Written as vodun, it is first recorded in Doctrina Christiana, a 1658 document written by the King of Allada's ambassador to the court of Philip IV of Spain. In the following centuries, Vodou was taken up by non-Haitians as a generic descriptive term for traditional Haitian religion. There are many used orthographies for this word. Today, the spelling Vodou is the most accepted orthography in English. Other potential spellings include Vodoun and voodoo, with vau- or vou- prefix variants reflecting French orthography, a final -n reflecting the nasal vowel in West African or older, non-urbanized, Haitian Creole pronunciations; the spelling voodoo, once common, is now avoided by Haitian practitioners and scholars when referring to the Haitian religion. This is both to avoid confusion with Louisiana Voodoo, a related but distinct set of religious practices, as well as to separate Haitian Vodou from the negative connotations and misconceptions the term "voodoo" has acquired in popular culture.
Over the years and their supporters have called on various institutions including the Associated Press to redress this misrepresentation by adopting "Vodou" in reference to the Haitian religion. In October 2012, the Library of Congress decided to change their subject heading from "Voodooism" to Vodou in response to a petition by a group of scholars and practitioners in collaboration with KOSANBA, the scholarly association for the study of Haitian Vodou based at University of California Santa Barbara. Vodou is popularly described as not a religion, but rather an experience that ties body and soul together; the concept of tying that exists in Haitian religious culture is derived from the Congolese tradition of kanga, the practice of tying one's soul to something tangible. This "tying of soul" is evident in many Haitian Vodou practices. Vodouisants believe; when it came in contact with Roman Catholicism, the Supreme Creator was associated with the Christian God, the loa associated with the saints.
Since Bondye is considered unreachable, Vodouisants aim their prayers to lesser entities, the spirits known as loa, or mistè. The most notable lwa include Papa Legba, Erzulie Freda, Kouzin Zaka, The Marasa, divine twins considered to be the first children of Bondye; these lwa can be divided into 21 nations, which include the Petro, Rada and Nago. Each of the lwa is associated with a particular Roman Catholic saint. For example, Legba is associated with St. Anthony the Hermit, Damballa is associated with St. Patrick; the lwa fall into family groups who share a surname, such as Ogou, Azaka or Ghede. For instance, "Ezili" is a family, Ezili Danto and Ezili Freda are two individual spirits in that family; each family is associated with a specific aspect, for instance the
Candomblé Ketu is the largest and most influential branch of Candomblé, a religion practiced in Brazil and Uruguay. The word Candomblé means “ritual dancing or gather in honor of gods” and Ketu is the name of the Ketu region of Benin, its liturgical language, known as Iorubá or Nagô, is a dialect of Yoruba. Candomblé Ketu developed in the early 19th century and gained great importance to Brazilian heritage in the 20th century. Queto is a system of beliefs that merges the Yoruba mythology with Christianity and Indigenous American traditions. Queto developed in the Portuguese Empire. Yoruba slaves carried with them various religious customs, including a trance and divination system for communicating with their ancestors and spirits, animal sacrifice, sacred drumming and dance, its origins are entwined with the religious and beneficent brotherhoods organized by the Roman Catholic Church among ethnic Yoruba slaves. The religion grew popular among slaves because it was a way for Yoruba slaves to maintain their culture and express independence.
Numerous terreiros of the Ketu branch of Candomblé have received historic status and government protection from the National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage. Ilê Axé Iyá Nassô Oká in Salvador was the first non-Roman Catholic and first Afro-Brazilian religious place of worship to receive protected heritage status in Brazil. Ilê Odó Ogé known as Terreiro Pilão de Prata, has protected heritage status from the state of Bahia; as the largest branch of the Candomblé religion, Ketu origins have a major influence on the religion as a whole. Although there are various branches of Candomblé, the foundational beliefs are the same, they differ based on names and rituals due to no written scripture. Each branch possesses a unique deity under the Supreme god Olódùmarè, seen as unequaled and beyond all existence. Ketu’s deity is named Orisha. Orishas controls the destiny of the acts as a guardian. Orishas represent different forces in nature, colors and days of the week. In Ketu, Candomblé storytelling and animal sacrifices are important.
Storytelling is expected to be done in a clear and precise way in order to be passed down to further generations. Animals such as pigs, cows and chicken are sacrificed. Animals are seen as sacred, so they are sacrificed as a way to transfer energy between nature and Orishas. There was a great deal of Catholic resistance due to the belief. Slaves incorporated Catholic Saints in order to keep their practices a secret. Catholics wanted to slaves to convert to their religion and feared retaliation if slaves became too independent. Olorum Exu Ogum Oxóssi Oxum Oxalufã Oxaguiã Orixá Okô Olissá Orunmilá Xangô Ayrá Iemanjá Ossãe Oyá Obaluaiê Omolu Jagun Nanã Buruku Oxumarê Obá Ewá Ibêji Logun Edé Iroko Olorokê Apaoká Iyami Oxorongá Egungun Santería Ifá Yvonne, Dancing Wisdom: Embodied Knowledge in Haitian Vodou, Cuban Yoruba, Bahian Candomblé, University of Illinois Press, 2005, ISBN 978-0-25207-207-9.:: Everything you wanted to know about Santeria Candomblé Ketu Ilê Opó Afonjá, a major Ketu house in Salvador Ama, A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade Qualia Folk
Erzulie is a family of loa, or spirits in Vodou. Erzulie Fréda Dahomey, the Rada aspect of Erzulie, is the Haitian African spirit of love, jewelry, dancing and flowers, she wears three wedding rings, one for each husband - Damballa and Ogoun. Her symbol is a heart, her colours are pink, blue and gold, her favourite sacrifices include jewellery, sweet cakes and liqueurs. Coquettish and fond of beauty and finery, Erzulie Freda is femininity and compassion embodied, yet she has a darker side. During ritual possession, she may enter the body of either a woman, she enjoys the game of seduces people without distinguishing between sexes. In Christian iconography she is identified with the Mater Dolorosa, as well as another loa named Metres Ezili, she is conceived of as never able to attain her heart's most fervent desire. For this reason she always leaves a service in tears. Common syncretizations include Iyalorde Oxum as she relates to the Yoruba Vodu goddess of erotic love and femininity. Erzulie Dantòr is the Queen of the Petro nation and the mother of "Ti Jean Petro", she is depicted as a fearsome black woman, protectively holding "Ti Jean Petro" in her arms.
She is a fierce protector of women and the neglects of society. She is the Lwa Pwen, in contrast with Èrzuli Freda who will bless you with material riches, Èrzulie Dantòr will give you the Spiritual Knowledge needed to navigate through this material reality. Èrzulie Dantòr's wealth lasts and can be passed on from one generation to another, whereas Èrzuli Freda, in any of her jealous fits, can deprive overnight of the gains she helped you to achieve. She is portrayed to resemble the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, as she is represented as being dark-skinned with two scars on her face, her colours are red and blue. Her favourite sacrifices include black pigs, griot and rum. Ti Jean Petro is her son and Jean Petro is her lover or husband. Erzulie Freda - The vain and flirty goddess of love, her "horses" tend to cry tears of regret. She is syncretized with Our Lady of Sorrows. Erzulie Mansur - Represents maternal love and protects children from harm. Granne Erzulie - Represents the wisdom granted by experience and maturity and grandmotherly kindness and love.
She is syncretized with the mother of the Virgin Mary. Erzulie D'en Tort or Erzulie Dantor Protects women and children and deals revenge against those who wrong them. Erzulie Balianne - "Silences" hearts. Keeps ensures that secrets will not be revealed. Helps people to forget past overcome passionate emotions, her "horses" tend to speak. She is syncretized with The Immaculate Heart. Erzulie Mapiangue Deals with the protection of unborn and newborn babies, her "horses" tend to get in birthing position and cry tears of pain. Common syncretization is as the Virgin and Infant of Prague, which wear matching red velvet robes and gold crowns. Erzulie Yeux Rouge or Erzulie Ge-Rouge Takes revenge on unfaithful lovers, her "horses" cry tears of bitter sadness. Erzulie Toho slighted in love, her "horses" cry tears of anger. Erzulie La Flambeau Erzulie Wangol La Sirène or Mami Wata is associated with Erzulie and sometimes is displayed in Erzulie's roles as mother and protector, her husband is the King of the Sea and patron of sailors and fishermen.
Marinette Bras-Chêche or Marinette Bwa Chech, a Kongo Loa, is similar to Erzulie Dantor. She represents revolt and misfortune and is prayed to either to placate her wrath or to direct her fury at another, she is in the form of a skeleton or rotting corpse and is syncretically represented by the Anima Sola. Mai-Louise is an Ibo goddess. Ti-Quitta / Ti Kitha, a Loa of sexuality and fertility, is one of the Quitta Loas. One of her aspects is Ti Quitta Demembre. Maman Brigitte, is a Guede goddess, the wife of Baron Samedi and protector of gravestones or funerary markers, she is syncretically represented by St Brigit. Tsillah Wedo is associated with Erzulie, she is depicted as a beautiful virgin of great wealth. MusicErzulie nennen O, a song in honor of Erzulie Freda, composed in the 1890s by Kandjo, continues to be played in Haiti as part of its folkloric repertoire. A 1991 song on the album Rising Above Bedlam by Jah Wobble's Invaders of the Heart. Released by Oval Records in 1991; the album was a shortlisted nominee for the 1992 Mercury Prize.
A 1988 solo album by free-jazz pianist Cecil Taylor is called Erzulie Maketh Scent. "Mistress of Erzulie" was the first track on Alannah Myles' 1995 album A-lan-nah. Erzulie is a character in the Broadway musical Once On This Island as the beautiful goddess of love. In the Steely Dan song "Two Against Nature", the narrator describes Madame Erzulie as a succubus who "bangs you silly but leaves a nasty bite."LiteratureA powerful swamp witch/voodoo woman in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel Witches Abroad is named Erzulie Gogol. She is the lover of Baron Saturday. In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic Past Lives, part 4, Erzulie is invoked to clear a room of all magic. Erzulie, Papa Legba and Baron Samed
Candomblé is an Afro-Brazilian religious tradition, practiced in Brazil by the povo de santo. Candomblé originated in Salvador, Bahia at the beginning of the 19th century, when the first temple was founded. Candomblé is practiced in Brazil, is practiced in other Latin American countries, including Argentina, Uruguay and Venezuela, having as many as two million followers. Candomblé developed in a creolization of traditional Yoruba and Bantu beliefs brought from West and Central Africa by enslaved captives in the Portuguese Empire. Between 1549 and 1888, the religion developed in Brazil, influenced by the knowledge of enslaved African priests who continued to teach their religion, their culture, language. In addition, Candomblé absorbed elements of Roman Catholicism and includes indigenous American traditions; as an oral tradition, it does not have holy scriptures. Practitioners of Candomblé believe in a Supreme Creator called Oludumaré, served by lesser deities, which are called Orishas; every practitioner is believed to have their own tutelary orisha, which controls his or her destiny and acts as a protector.
Music and dance are important parts of Candomblé ceremonies, since the dances enable worshippers to become possessed by the orishas. In the rituals, participants make offerings like minerals and animals. Candomblé does not include the duality of evil. Candomblé does not have holy texts. Only have scholars and "povo de santo" begun to write down its practices; the word Candomblé means "dance in honour of the gods", music and dance are important parts of Candomblé ceremonies. The name Batuque is used to refer to the religion before the 19th century. After that, Candomblé became more common. Both words are believed to be derived from a Bantu-family language that of the Kingdom of Kongo. Candomblé may be called Macumba in some regions of Brazil, notably Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Macumba has a distinct set of practices more akin to European witchcraft. Candomblé originated among enslaved Africans who were transplanted to Brazil during the Atlantic slave trade. From the earliest days of the slave trade, many slave owners and Catholic Church leaders felt it was important to convert enslaved Africans.
They believed this would fulfill their religious obligations and lead the enslaved to be more submissive in their status. Some historians suggest that Africans were forced to give up their traditional religions to cut their ties to their pasts. Although the Church succeeded in many cases, not all slaves converted. Many outwardly practiced Christianity but secretly prayed to their own God, gods, or ancestor spirits. In Brazil, adherents of Candomblé saw in the Catholic veneration of saints a similarity with their own religion. Bantu followers found a shared system of worship with Brazil's indigenous people, through this connection they re-learned the ancestor worship, part of their own traditional systems, they concealed the sacred symbols of their deities inside figures of their Catholic saints. In segregated communities of the country, it was easy to create Catholic fraternities where slaves would meet with each other; these meetings, were an opportunity for Candomblé worship to be practiced and for feasts to be held on special religious days.
They were opportunities for the enslaved to gather and plan rebellions against their masters. Candomblé was condemned by the Catholic Church. Followers of the faith were persecuted violently, including by government-led public campaigns and police action. Repression of African religion began early in the Portuguese colonial period, with calundu subject to the Inquisition; the Brazilian Penal Code of 1850 condemned charlatanismo curandeirismo. Both Candomblé religious leaders and terreiros were attacked by the police. With Catholicism as the state religion, other religious practices threatened the secular authority; the persecution stopped in the 1970s with repeal of a law requiring police permission to hold public religious ceremonies. The religion has surged in popularity in Brazil since with as many as two million people professing to follow this faith, it is popular in Salvador, Bahia, in the northeast region of Brazil, more isolated from other influences and had a high percentage of enslaved Africans.
Many people from African countries visit Bahia in order to learn more about the faith of their ancestors. For many followers, Candomblé is not only a matter of religious belief but of reclaiming the cultural and historical identity of ethnic Africans, although their separate tribal identities have been obscured by peoples being mixed in communities during and after slavery. Brazilian slaves came from a number of African geographic regions and ethnic groups, including Mbundu, Igbo, Kongo and Ewe. Slave handlers classified them by the shore of embarkment, so records of ethnicity may not have been accurate, as captives were transported overland away from native areas before being loaded on ships; as the religion developed semi-independently in different regions of Brazil, among different African ethnic groups, it evolved into several "branches" or nations. These are distinguished chiefly by their set of worshiped deities, as well as the music and language used in the rituals; the division into nations was influenced by the religious and beneficent brotherhoods organized by the Catholic Church among Brazilian slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries.
These fraternities, organized alo
Abakuá sometimes known as Nañigo, is an Afro-Cuban men's initiatory fraternity or secret society, which originated from fraternal associations in the Cross River region of southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon. Abakuá has been described as "an Afro-Cuban version of Freemasonry". Known as Ekpe, Ngbe, or Ugbe among the multi-lingual groups in the region, it was believed that Ñáñigos, as the members are known, could be transformed into leopards to stalk their enemies. In contemporary Haiti, where secret societies have remained strong, an elite branch of the army, set up to instill fear in the restless masses was named The Leopards. Among the less mystical Ñáñigo revenges was the ability to turn people over to slavers. In Africa they were notorious operators; the creolized Cuban term Abakuá is thought to refer to the Abakpa area in southeast Nigeria, where the society was active. The first such societies were established by Africans in the town of Regla, Havana, in 1836; this remains the main area of Abakuá implantation the district of Guanabacoa in eastern Havana, in Matanzas where Afro-Cuban culture is vibrant.
Cities with many Afro-Cuban immigrants in Florida such as Key West and Ybor City had a religion known by observers as "Nañigo", referred to as "Carabali Apapa Abacua" by practitioners. By the 1930s much of the religion seemed to have disappeared from visibility. For Abakuá lodges to be formed a structured initiation rite must be performed, something difficult to do for immigrant Abakuá members who are estranged from established lodges in Cuba. For this reason there is a debate as to whether the practices described as "Nañigo" where official Abakuá practices or imitations done by members estranged from official lodges; the term "Nañigo" itself was used to describe any Afro-Cuban traditions practiced in Florida, is thus not reliable to use to describe any set of traditions with accuracy. No Abakuá lodges had been formed in Miami until 1998 an Abakuá group declared its existence in Miami only for Cuban Abakuá members to denounce it since their lodge wasn't official consecrated with sacred materials only found in Cuba.
Members of this society came to be known as ñañigos, a word used to designate the street dancers of the society. The ñañigos, who were called diablitos, were well known by the general population in Cuba through their participation in the Carnival on the Day of the Three Kings, when they danced through the streets wearing their ceremonial outfit, a multicolored checkerboard dress with a conical headpiece topped with tassels; the oaths of loyalty to the Abakuá society’s sacred objects and secret knowledge taken by initiates are a lifelong pact which creates a sacred kinship among the members. The duties of an Abakuá member to his ritual brothers at times surpass the responsibilities of friendship, the phrase "Friendship is one thing, the Abakuá another" is heard. One of the oaths made during initiation is that one will not reveal the secrets of the Abakuá to non-members, why the Abakuá have remained hermetic for over 160 years. Besides acting as a mutual aid society, the Abakuá performs rituals and ceremonies, called plantes, full of theatricality and drama which consists of drumming and chanting in the secret Abakuá language.
Knowledge of the chants is restricted to Abakuá members, but Cuban scholars have long thought that the ceremonies express Abakuá cultural history. Other ceremonies such as initiations and funerals, are secret and occur in the sacred room of the Abakuá temple, called the famba; the rhythmic dance music of the Abakuá combined with Bantu traditions of the Congo contributed to the musical tradition of the rumba. Although hermetic and little known within Cuba, an analysis of Cuban popular music recorded from the 1920s until the present reveals Abakuá influence in nearly every genre of Cuban popular music. Cuban musicians who are members of the Abakuá have continually documented key aspects of their society’s history in commercial recordings in their secret Abakuá language; the Abakuá have commercially recorded actual chants of the society, believing that outsiders cannot interpret them. Because Abakuá represented a rebellious anti-colonial, aspect of Cuban culture, these secret recordings have been popular.
Ireme is the Cuban term for the masked Abakuá dancer known as Idem or Ndem in the Cross River region. The masquerade dancer is covered in a tight-fitting suit and hood, dances with a broom and a staff; the broom serves to cleanse faithful members, while the staff chastises Abakuá traitors. During initiation ceremonies, the staff is called the Erí nBan nDó, while during mournings and wakes it is called AlanManguín Besuá. Abakuá members derive their belief systems and traditional practices from the Igbo, Efik and Ibibio spirits that lived in the forest. Ekpe and synonymous terms were names of a leopard related secret society. Much of what the Abakua believe in terms of religion is conisdered a secret only known to members. Due to the secrecy of the society, little is known of the Abakuá language, it is assumed to be a creolized version of Efik or Ibibio, both related languages or dialects from the Cross River region of Nigeria, because this is the cultural region and ethnic groups where the society originated.
If it is indeed a creolized version of either Efik or Ibibio, it could be compared in purpose and in its formation and origins to other African languages, or specialized vocabularies derived from African languages, used in other Afro-American religions, such as: Lucumí: a Yoruba dialect used in the Cuban Santería religion Iorubá/Nagô: another Yoruba dialect used in the Brazilian Can
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, while blending practices of various schools of thought. Syncretism involves the merging or assimilation of several discrete traditions in the theology and mythology of religion, thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths. Syncretism occurs in expressions of arts and culture as well as politics; the English word is first attested in the early 17th century, from Modern Latin syncretismus, drawing on Greek συγκρητισμός meaning "Cretan federation", but this is a spurious etymology from the naive idea in Plutarch's 1st-century AD essay on "Fraternal Love" in his collection Moralia. He cites the example of the Cretans, who compromised and reconciled their differences and came together in alliance when faced with external dangers. "And, their so-called Syncretism ". More as an etymology is sun- plus kerannumi and its related noun, "krasis," "mixture." Erasmus coined the modern usage of the Latin word in his Adagia, published in the winter of 1517–1518, to designate the coherence of dissenters in spite of their differences in theological opinions.
In a letter to Melanchthon of April 22, 1519, Erasmus adduced the Cretans of Plutarch as an example of his adage "Concord is a mighty rampart". Overt syncretism in folk belief may show cultural acceptance of an alien or previous tradition, but the "other" cult may survive or infiltrate without authorized syncresis nevertheless. For example, some Conversos developed a sort of cult for martyr-victims of the Spanish Inquisition, thus incorporating elements of Catholicism while resisting it. Syncretism was common during the Hellenistic period, with rulers identifying local deities in various parts of their domains with the relevant god or goddess of the Greek Pantheon, as a means of increasing the cohesion of the Kingdom; this practice was accepted in most locations, but vehemently rejected by the Jews who considered the identification of Yahwe with the Greek Zeus as the worst of blasphemy. The Roman Empire continued this practice - first by the identification of traditional Roman deities with Greek ones, producing a single Graeco-Roman Pantheon and identifying members of that pantheon with the local deities of various Roman provinces.
An undeclared form of Syncretism was the transfer of many attributes of the goddess Isis - whose worship was widespread in the Later Roman Empire - to the Christian Virgin Mary. Some religious movements have embraced overt syncretism, such as the case of melding Shintō beliefs into Buddhism or the amalgamation of Germanic and Celtic pagan views into Christianity during its spread into Gaul, the British Isles and Scandinavia. In times, Christian missionaries in North America identified Manitou - the spiritual and fundamental life force in the traditional beliefs of the Algonquian groups - with the God of Christianity. Similar identifications were made by missionaries at other locations in the Americas and Africa, whenever encountering a local belief in a Supreme God or Supreme Spirit of some kind. Indian influences are seen in the practice of Shi'i Islam in Trinidad. Others have rejected it as devaluing and compromising precious and genuine distinctions. Syncretism tends to facilitate coexistence and unity between otherwise different cultures and world-views, a factor that has recommended it to rulers of multi-ethnic realms.
Conversely, the rejection of syncretism in the name of "piety" and "orthodoxy", may help to generate, bolster or authenticate a sense of un-compromised cultural unity in a well-defined minority or majority. Religious syncretism exhibits blending of two or more religious belief systems into a new system, or the incorporation into a religious tradition of beliefs from unrelated traditions; this can occur for many reasons, the latter scenario happens quite in areas where multiple religious traditions exist in proximity and function in a culture, or when a culture is conquered, the conquerors bring their religious beliefs with them, but do not succeed in eradicating the old beliefs or practices. Religions may have syncretic elements to their beliefs or history, but adherents of so-labeled systems frown on applying the label adherents who belong to "revealed" religious systems, such as the Abrahamic religions, or any system that exhibits an exclusivist approach; such adherents sometimes see syncretism as a betrayal of their pure truth.
By this reasoning, adding an incompatible belief corrupts the original religion, rendering it no longer true. Indeed, critics of a specific syncretistic trend may sometimes use the word "syncretism" as a disparaging epithet, as a charge implying that those who seek to incorporate a new view, belief, or practice into a religious system distort the original faith. Non-exclusivist systems of belief, on the other hand, may feel quite free to incorporate other traditions into their own. Keith Ferdinando notes that the term "syncretism" is an elusive one, can apply to refer to substitution or modification of the central elements of a religion by beliefs or practices introduced from elsewhere; the consequence under such a definition, according to Ferdinando, can lead to a fatal "compromise" of the original religion's "integrity". In modern secular society, religious innovators sometimes construct new religions syncretically as a mechanism to reduce inter-religious tension and enmity with the effect of offend