Smith, Wilfred Cantwell (1916–2000)

A scholar of the comparative history of religion and also a theologian, Wilfred Cantwell Smith was a prolific author, visionary educational administrator, and major intellectual force in the academic study and practice of religion during the latter half of the 20th century. Building on his roots in Islamic studies, Smith was an early advocate for taking religious pluralism and its conceptualization seriously. This entailed meticulous historical research across the range of the world's religious traditions and a willingness to address what he perceived to be the failings of modern intellectuals and the university to understand religious life. The impact of his work, both personally on those who studied with him—many of whom have become leaders in their fields—and through his writing, is enormous. Smith's work ...

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