Huston Smith is among the preeminent religious studies scholars in the United States. His work, The World's Religions, is a classic in the field, with more than two million copies sold, and it remains a common introduction to comparative religion.
Smith was born in 1919 in Soochow, China, to Methodist missionaries and spent his first 17 years there. He taught at the Universities of Colorado and Denver, at Washington University in St. Louis, and then served as professor of Philosophy at MIT. While there, he participated in some of the experiments with entheogens that professor Timothy Leary conducted at Harvard University.
Smith then moved to Syracuse University, where he was Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion and Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Philosophy until his retirement in 1983 and current emeritus status. He now lives in the Berkeley, California, area where he is Visiting Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.