This article provides an overview of the Brazilian religious landscape and an introduction to this special issue on new religious movements in Brazil. I stress how the Brazilian religious landscape, although often imagined as a place of religious syncretism and cultural mixture, is crosscut by an array of boundaries, tensions and antagonisms, including ones grounded in race and class. The article outlines the major topics and problems taken up by the contributors to this issue, including appropriation across lines of race, ethnicity and class; the growing influence of evangelical Christianity in Latin America and beyond; esoteric religious practice in the late modern era; and questions of purity and authenticity, syncretism and anti-syncretism. Through their engagement with these themes, the articles in this issue contribute to a number of important discussions that relate not only to the study of religion in Brazil but to the study of new religious movements in general.

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