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Obituary

A Life and Career: Jonathan Z. Smith (1938–2017)

Russell T. McCutcheon

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Introduction

An Experiment in Redescription

Russell T. McCutcheon

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Russell T. McCutcheon

Abstract

Based on a lecture first presented at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR), this paper explores the possible reasons for the continued popularity of the work of the late Huston Smith – carried out in what could be characterized as the pre-history of the North American field’s rebirth in public universities throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s. For unlike other works dating from the 1950s, which are now read, if at all, only as primary sources and thus as evidence of an earlier time in the field, his book (originally entitled The Religions of Man [1958]) presents a dated example worth considering, inasmuch as it is, for many, still the preferred classroom resource for training newcomers to the field.