Jonathan Smith
Jonathan Z. Smith passed away on December 30, 2017. He was the Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the Humanities at the University of Chicago. Professor Smith received his PhD from Yale, in Religious Studies, in 1969.?In 2013, Smith was awarded an Honorary Lifetime Membership in the International Association for the History of Religions. "Smith's enormous contributions to the field from the 1960s to the present," the citation read, "have unwaveringly insisted upon, and been exemplary of, methodological rigor and self consciousness. He has probably done more than any single scholar to promote an analytic or critical approach to the study of religion." He is the author of numerous works, including Map Is Not Territory, Imagining Religion, To Take Place, and Drudgery Divine. He was also the editor of The HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion.?Smith joined the faculty of the University of Chicago in 1968 and remained there his entire career. From 1973 to 1982 he assumed administrative responsibilities and served as associate dean and then dean of the college. He is survived by his loving wife, Elaine B. Smith, his daughter, Siobhan Smith, son, Jason Smith (Rachel Weaver), his granddaughter, Hazel van Wijk, and sister, Pamela Hanson.
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Published by Chicago Tribune on Jan. 2, 2018.
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8 Entries
Jon at Haverford was a giant. Funny, endlessly knowledgeable, solicitous and with a remarkable sense of play. I was in a group that hung on his words and yearned for his attention. Those were days.
Linn Allen
April 13, 2018
Jonathan Smith was perhaps my closest friend when we were students at Hunter College Elementary School. We pretty much lost touch after that. I am always amazed when I read of someone with whom I attended school eons ago who has become a sort of spectacular human being, and it appears that Johnny was one of those. But I also remember that even as a child, he was exceptionally kind and also exceptionally interested in what I would almost have to describe as "spiritual" things, way beyond his years.
My deepest condolences to his wife and family.
David B. Simpson
February 23, 2018
My condolences to Elaine and the children. This is an enormous loss for the thousands of his students and colleagues who had the privilege of learning from him.
Richard Hecht
January 5, 2018
My deepest sympathy to you and your family for your loss. His generous support for me and others who studied with him will keep his memory bright.
Carole Myscofski
January 4, 2018
My sincerest condolences. I have just now heard of your loss. Mr. Smith was an extraordinary scholar, but twenty-five years later, what stands out is his generosity, kindness, and patience. I have often found myself wondering how I would have made it through school without him. I will miss him greatly.
Leslie Kiku Steinfeld
January 3, 2018
My deepest condolences to the family!
- Veikko Anttonen, Vice-President of the IAHR, University of Turku, Finland
January 3, 2018
A generous human being and among the most gifted, critically-minded, witty, and thus influential scholars of religion in the history of the field.
Russell McCutcheon
January 2, 2018
My sincere condolences to the family for the loss of your loved one. May prayers strengthen you and memories comfort you, and may our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father, who loves us, comfort your hearts and "make you firm". -2 Thessalonians 2:16,17
January 2, 2018
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