Syncretism is "the combination of different forms of belief or practice" according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. In an article on syncretism in the 1911 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, it says: "Its (syncretism) most frequent use, however, is in connexion with the religious development of antiquity, when it denotes the tendency, especially prominent from the 2nd to the 4th centuries of the Christian era, to simplify and unify the various pagan religions … Syncretism even went so far as to blend the deities of paganism and Christianity … The triumph of Christianity itself represented a result of syncretism, the Church being a blending of the beliefs and practices of both the new and old religions." Christianity was rapidly changing from what it had been during the first century under the 12 apostles. There were sharp disagreements between those who followed the doctrines and practice of the apostles and sought to maintain those first century beliefs and practices, and those who were going in an entirely new direction than had been previously taught.


King Solomon is a well-known figure described in the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Old Testament and the Islamic Qur'an (where he is known as Sulayman or Suleiman) as well as many other later references and legends. In addition to his great wisdom, Solomon is often credited with access to supernatural powers and the possession of a magic ring called the "Seal of Solomon" which gave him power over demons.
He is usually identified as the son of King David of Israel and Bathsheba, and probably lived around the 10th Century BC, although the historical evidence, independent of the biblical accounts, is scarce. He is credited with the building of the First Temple in Jerusalem as a permanent abode for the Ark of the Covenant as well as many other buildings of importance in Jerusalem, and is portrayed as great in wisdom, wealth and power, presiding over a kind of Hebrew Golden Age. According to Jewish tradition, he was responsible for three books of the Bible (the “Book of Proverbs”, “Ecclesiastes” and the “Song of Songs”), although he has also been attributed, by probably apocryphal Rabbinical tradition, with the “Wisdom of Solomon” and other books of wisdom poetry such as the “Odes of Solomon” and the “Psalms of Solomon”.
The Qur’an states that Sulayman had under his rule not only people, but also hosts of djinn (supernatural genies), that he had control over various elements such as the wind and transportation, and that he was able to understand the language of the birds and ants, and to see some of the hidden glory in the world that was not accessible to common human beings. The Rabbinical literature goes much further, and is the main source of the claims that Solomon was involved in witchcraft-like practices and had access to supernatural powers. It reports that, on account of his modest request for wisdom only, Solomon was rewarded with riches and an unprecedentedly glorious realm, which extended over the upper world inhabited by the angels and over the whole of the terrestrial globe with all its inhabitants, including all the beasts, fowls and reptiles, as well as the demons and spirits.
[Seal of Solomon medallion, incorporating the 'Star of David' symbol]
Seal of Solomon medallion, incorporating the "Star of David" symbol (from
A magic ring called the "Seal of Solomon" (adorned with the magical symbol known as the Star of David) was supposedly given to Solomon, which gave him power over demons, and even Asmodeus, king of demons, was at one point captured and forced to remain in Solomon's service. The demons brought him precious stones and water from distant countries to irrigate his exotic plants, and the beasts and fowls entered the kitchen of Solomon's palace of their own accord, so that they might be used as food for him. According to some stories, demons were also forced to help Solomon with the building the Temple. Other magical items attributed to Solomon are his Key and his Table.
Early adherents of the Kabbalah portrayed Solomon as sailing through the air on a throne of light placed on an eagle, on which he visited the gates of Heaven and Hell, as well as to the dark mountains beyond which the fallen angels Uzza and Azzael were chained, where he used his magic ring to compel the angels to reveal all mysteries. In one of many other stories and legends, Solomon was supposed to have travelled on a 60-mile square flying carpet. Other stories revolve around his throne, which was supposed to follow him around and which was surrounded by mechanical moving animals of gold.
The Gnostic “Apocalypse of Adam”, which probably dates from the 1st or 2nd Century AD, refers to a legend in which Solomon sends out an army of demons to seek a virgin who had fled from him, and the tradition of Solomon's control over demons appears fully elaborated in an early Gnostic work called the "Testament of Solomon" (perhaps 1st to 3rd Century AD) with its elaborate and grotesque demonology. Grimoires (books containing instructions for invoking angels or demons, performing divination and gaining magical powers) such as the “Key of Solomon” and the “Lesser Key of Solomon” (or “Lemegeton”) are likewise not actually traceable to Solomon, but are examples of the 16th and 17th Century penchant for attributing Solomon with power over demons


A whole host of pagan practices and symbols were absorbed into Christianity. In an effort to convert those worshipping pagan religions, the old pagan ideas were simply given new names and assigned new meanings. One of the better-known examples of religious syncretism is Christmas. Christmas was invented as a substitute for the older, pagan Yule celebrations. Instead of worshipping a sun god on the 25th of December, the pagan was told he was now worshipping the Son of God. The symbols and rituals and practices all remained, only under new labels. Bible evidence shows that the birth of Christ was in the fall of the year, likely late September or early October at the latest, and not on December 25th. The Bible in no wise institutes the worship of the birth of Jesus, much less authorizes the absorption of pagan religious practices. There are many examples of syncretism in the modern Christian religion. Another example is Easter, which is loaded with symbols, practices and rituals incorporated from ancient Greek and Roman pagan celebrations surrounding spring fertility. The pagan practices of the worship of Ishtar, the fertility goddess, were absorbed into Christianity. The new meaning given was to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But the Bible does not institute the worship of the resurrection. Some think the idea of syncretism is good and is a means of showing that Christianity is not "exclusive" of other religions and their "paths to God." The idea of being "multi-cultural" has invaded public thought in the last few decades. While God created all peoples, His Word is quite clear that there is only one path, excluding all others: "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). God means it when He says, "You shall have no other gods before Me" (Exodus 20:3). God warned Israel about worshipping foreign gods: "Thus says the Lord: 'Do not learn the way of the Gentiles'" (Jeremiah 10:2). God forbids religious syncretism.


"Testament of Solomon"