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religious syncretism

the fusion of diverse religious beliefs and practices. Instances of religious syncretism-as, for example, Gnosticism (a religious dualistic system that incorporated elements from the Oriental mystery religions), Judaism, Christianity, and Greek religious philosophical concepts-were particularly prevalent during the Hellenistic period (c. 300 BC-c. AD 300). The fusion of cultures that was effected by the conquest of Alexander the Great (4th century BC), his successors, and the Roman Empire tended to bring together a variety of religious and philosophical views that resulted in a strong tendency toward religious syncretism. Orthodox Christianity, although influenced by other religions, generally looked negatively upon these syncretistic movements

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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