Jonathan Z. Smith, 79

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.

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.