Popular Religion in Latin American Historiography

Reinaldo L. Román and Pamela Voekel

in The Oxford Handbook of Latin American History

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195166217
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

 Popular Religion in Latin American Historiography

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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

Article.  17402 words. 

Subjects: History ; Social and Cultural History

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