AUTHORITY ON HISTORY OF RELIGIONS...
Dr. Huston Smith to Speak Locally
By Ruthanne Ali

 

 

Born of missionary parents in Soochow, China, Dr. Huston Smith spent the first seventeen years of his life in the region.  His youth provided an extensive background for subsequent interests in comparative philosophies and religions.

Dr. Smith served for fifteen years as Professor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute Technology.  He also taught at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and was Professor of Religion and Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus at Syracuse University. His most recent teaching position was as a Visiting Professor of Religious Studies at UC Berkeley.

An interest in education beyond the classroom led Dr. Smith to produce three television series for the Public Broadcasting System, “The Religions of Man,” “The Search for America,” and “Science and Human Responsibility.” (with Arthur Compton.

His films on Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Sufism have all won international awards. He also produced “The Music of Tibet,” which embodies his discovery of the capacity of certain lamas to sing multiphonically. This record was acclaimed by The Journal of Ethnomusicology as “an important landmark in the study of extra-European musics, and in fact of music itself.”

Dr. Smith holds twelve honorary degrees, and was one of six professors in 1964 to receive the national E. Harris Harbison Award for Distinguished Teaching in the United States.  He was also a featured guest that year on the opening and closing programs of ABS’s “Meet the Professor” series.

In 1961 Dr. Smith was invited as the first Charles Strong Lecturer on World Religions to the Universities of Australia. Twice he has been appointed Distinguished Visiting Lecturer to the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa, and in 1964 he was Annual Lecturer to the John Dewey Society. In 1996 Bill Moyers devoted a 5-part PBS Special, “The Wisdom of Faith with Huston Smith,” to his life and work. This series was nominated for an Emmy Award.

Author of more than seventy articles in professional and popular journals, Dr. Huston’s book “The World’s Religions,” formerly titled “The Religions of Man,” has been the most widely-used textbook for courses in world religions for almost half a century and has sold more than two and a half million copies. His other books include “Forgotten Truth,” “Beyond the Post-Modern Mind,” “The Illustrated World’s Religions,” “One Nation Under God: The Triumph of the Native American Church,” “Cleansing the Doors of Perception: The Religious Significance of Entheogenic Plants and Chemicals,” and most recently, “Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the Human Spirit in An Age of Disbelief,” which received the Wilburn Award for the most important book on Religion published in 2001, “Buddhism: A Concise Introduction.” And “The Way Things Are.”

Widely regarded as the most eloquent and accessible contemporary authority on the history of religions, Dr. Smith will speak on “The Unity That Binds Us”, Sunday, July 17 at Unity of Tustin from 1:30 to 4:30. For further information, please call (714) 730-3486.


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