By Carl F. Starkloff
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Extra info for A Theology of the In-Between: The Value of Syncretic Process (Marquette Studies in Theology, #33.)
4), was to call the “Christ above Culture” or “synthetic-centrist” model, with its strengths and its weaknesses. It is the setting for the dynamics beginning with the growth of scholasticism in the eleventh century and its high point with Aquinas in the mid-thirteenth century. It is here that we situate our final observations on the history of the formative European syncretic process, with its tension between spontaneous growth and critical synthesis, to prepare us to develop a theological and pastoral praxis of syncretic process.
394) In other words, Möhler would see an inauthentic syncretism as the source of heresy because it loses touch with the Incarnation, the Spirit and the unity of the Body. Among the early theologians cited often by Möhler, four stand out as representatives of the authentic syncretic process: I mean the Cappadocians Gregory of Nyssa, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory Nazianzen, and (at least as Jaroslav Pelikan believes) Macrina, the sister of the first two. According to Pelikan’s account, these theologians are synthesists striving to integrate the gospel with their own hellenistic culture, a practice that they saw symbolized and justified by the fact that the New Testament was written in koiné Greek.
Dawson recognizes here too those seeds of syncretism in the integration of Scandinavian military ideals, the native religions of the peasants, the tutelage of the landowners, all within a tradition that began with the baptism of Harold in 826 (240). This “conversion” did little to halt Viking piracies, however, until the mid-eleventh century. In the long run, though, the converted Vikings brought a new vitality into Europe, as these peoples became the new “champions of Christendom” (245). This would also produce the kind of syncretistic elements that are evident in one of the symposia on syncretism (Cf.
A Theology of the In-Between: The Value of Syncretic Process (Marquette Studies in Theology, #33.) by Carl F. Starkloff