Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here


No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Numen

Once defined as a "mishmash of religions," syncretism has been referred to as a meaningless, derogatory and essentialistic term which should be banned from the fields of religio-historical research. Written in defence of the category, this article provides a review of problematic aspects and recent attempts to deal with them. Particularly useful in this concern, anthropologists Rosalind Shaw and Charles Stewart have suggested a demarcation between "syncretism" (as the politics of religious synthesis) and "anti-syncretism" (as attempts to protect religious boundaries). Taking their tools as a starting point, this article discusses shifting tendencies in the history of Theosophy. The Theosophical Society started out, it is argued, as a hyper-syncretistic religion, while at the same time promoting anti-syncretism on behalf of other religions. More recently, these strategies have been replaced by efforts to protect boundaries and demarcate its Blavatskian roots.


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Numen — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation