Religion historian Jonathan Z. Smith diesHistorians in the News
tags: obituary, Jonathan Z Smith
Jonathan Z. Smith, a historian and theorist of religion widely admired for his analytic rigor in comparing religions, has died. He was 79.
Smith, who died Saturday (Dec. 30), was the author of numerous books and served as the editor of “The HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion.” He spent his entire career at the University of Chicago. Though trained in Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity, he amassed formidable knowledge on such issues as ritual, Hellenistic religions, Māori cults and the mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana.
He was also an eccentric scholar with a mane of unruly white hair, a beard, oversized glasses and an outsized personality.
In a 2008 interview, Smith said he never used a computer (he typed or handwrote all his papers) and viewed the cellphone as “an absolute abomination.”
Smith raised fundamental questions about the nature of religion and the challenges of comparing it across different cultures. ...
comments powered by Disqus
- Historian David Trowbridge’s Clio app featured as a top humanities project in US
- Juan Cole says Israel is now openly embracing apartheid and racial supremacy
- Historians accuse Croatia of covering up World War II Crimes
- Waitman Wade Beorn: Historians can and should draw parallels between the 1930s and today
- "Never underestimate human stupidity," says historian Yuval Harari whose fans include Bill Gates and Barack Obama