Concept

Huston Smith

Summary
Huston Cummings Smith (May 31, 1919 – December 30, 2016) was a scholar of religious studies in the United States, He authored at least thirteen books on world's religions and philosophy, and his book about comparative religion, The World's Religions (originally titled The Religions of Man) sold over three million copies as of 2017. Born and raised in Suzhou, China in a Methodist missionary family, Smith moved back to the United States at the age of 17 and graduated from the University of Chicago in 1945 with a PhD in philosophy. He spent the majority of his academic career as a professor at Washington University in St. Louis (1947–1958), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1958–1973) and Syracuse University (1973–1983). In 1983, he retired from Syracuse and moved to Berkeley, California, where he was a visiting professor of religious studies at the University of California, Berkeley until his death. On May 31, 1919, Huston Cummings Smith was born in Dzang Zok, Suzhou, China to Methodist missionaries and spent his first 17 years there. His first language was Mandarin Chinese, spoken with Suzhou dialect. Upon coming to the United States to complete his education, he received a BA from Central Methodist University in 1940 and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Chicago in 1945. While at Chicago, he married Eleanor Wieman, the daughter of Henry Nelson Wieman, a professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School. She later changed her name to Kendra. They had three daughters, Karen, Gael, and Kimberly Smith. Smith taught at the University of Denver from 1945 to 1947, and then at Washington University, for the next 10 years. In 1958, Smith was appointed professor of philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he remained until 1973. While there, he participated in experiments with psychedelics that professors Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert conducted at Harvard University. In 1964, during a trip to India, Smith stayed in a Gyuto Tibetan Buddhist monastery.
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