University of Denver

Huston Smith, pioneering teacher of world religions, dies at 97

Huston Smith, pioneering teacher of world religions, dies at 97

Huston Smith, a pioneering teacher of world religions whose knowledge and respect for the traditions of the major faiths attracted millions of readers, has died. He was 97.

Smith died at his home in Berkeley on Dec. 30 after a long illness, according to his official website.

From the time he was in his 20s, Smith immersed himself in the practices of many faiths, studying the Hindu Upanishad texts in India, living with Zen Buddhists in Japan, keeping the Muslim monthlong fast of Ramadan and observing the Jewish Passover. Well into old age, Smith made Hatha yoga part of his daily spiritual practice. But, as the son of Methodist missionaries noted some years ago, “I never...