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One of the most influential figures in the field of religious studies in the latter half of the 20th century, Ninian Smart's life was thrown off course by the changing fate of history. Born into a relatively privileged family, groomed for an Oxford or Cambridge education by his Cambridge mathematician father and well-born mother, Smart had been set on a path leading to a conventional academic career in the British university system like his two brothers, Alastair, an art historian, and John Jamieson, the philosopher. But World War II intervened, and Smart was pressed into military service, first to study Chinese at London's School of Oriental and African Studies and then to be removed to a remote tropical island, Ceylon, later known as Sri Lanka. ...

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