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date: 18 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses the recent historiography of religion from the traditional field of church history. The emphasis shifts from the institutional and official to the quotidian and informal. The stress on popular religiosity comes across in the debate over syncretism discussed in the first section of the article. Did Catholicism absorb African and indigenous beliefs, in practice if not theologically, to form a sort of Latin American spiritual stew, as the Cuban anthropologist Fernando Ortiz once put it? Did this synthesis become more Christian with time? Did non-European belief systems survive relatively unadulterated, particularly in the understanding of the divine rather than form, as some revisionists proposed? Popular religiosity also occupies a central position in the historical debate about secularism, the nature of millenarianism, and the spread of Protestantism during the national period.

Keywords: religion, church history, popular religiosity, syncretism, Catholicism

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