A fun, short interview with the great scholar of religion, Jonathan Z. Smith, in University of Chicago’s campus paper:
SS: What got you interested in the religions that you study?
JS: Because they’re funny. They’re interesting in and of themselves. They relate to the world in which I live, but it’s like a fun house mirror: Something’s off. It’s not quite the world I live in, yet it’s recognizable. So that gap interested me. And so I specialized in religions that are dead, which has the great advantage that nobody talks back. No one says, ‘That’s not what I heard last Sunday!’ Everybody’s dead. And I like that….