Religions of Man
In 1955, a small
miracle occurred in St. Louis when an affable and enthusiastic
young professor from Washington University offered a landmark series of
talks on the World's Religions at KETC television, and broadcast
nationally on National Educational Television - NET. Huston Smith,
whom the Christian Science Monitor would later call "Religion's
Rock Star," opened the minds of Americans, using public television
to reveal exactly why members of the various religions found their
faith traditions compelling. Even now, more than sixty years
later, Smith's descriptions of the various faiths are entirely relevant
and compelling - a refreshing tonic for a troubled world.
And now these films are once again available!
Dana Sawyer, Huston Smith Biographer
1955, the Religions of Man was the first college accredited course given
on TV. It was broadcast on KETC in St. Louis and featured Dr. Huston
Smith, associate professor of philosophy at Washington University. The
course surveyed the great living religions of the world and how they
influenced human history, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism,
Taoism, Judaism, Christianity (Protestant and Catholic) and Islam.
Lectures trace the start of these religions, their founders and what
each teaches as life’s meaning and the way to its fulfillment.
Born in China of missionary parents, Dr. Huston Smith has had first-hand
acquaintance with the religions of both East and West. Dr. Smith’s
graduate studies were completed at the University of California and the
University of Chicago, where he received his PhD in 1945. He was
president of the Missouri Philosophy Association and is the author of The
Purpose of Higher Education, published in 1955 by Harper and
Brothers. Dr. Smith taught at the University of Denver and the
University of Colorado before joining the Washington University faculty.
His course on The Religions of Man grew from 13 to 140 students in the first seven
years he taught it. The 17 episodes that comprise this series were
originally recorded on kinescope.