Skip to main content
Article
Dr. Jonathan Z. Smith Engages with the Question: Is it Possible To Prove The Existence of God?
Browse Entire Collection
  • Jonathan Z Smith, University of Chicago
  • Alfred Benney, Fairfield University
Document Type
Video
Interview Date
11-21-1999
Abstract

Is it possible to prove the existence of God?

Dr. Jonathan Z. Smith discusses the question of whether there is only one supreme God and remarks that the question of a singular supreme being is a philosophical question, not a religious question. He raises the question of the existence of multiple supreme beings which would explain conflict “up there” just like there is conflict “down here”. Without this discussion a whole dimension of religion would be gone. Dr. Smith concludes that all proofs are philosophical proofs.

Comments

Playing Time: 4:08 minutes

About the Interviewee:

Dr. Jonathan Z. Smith is the Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor of the Humanities at the University of Chicago and Associate Faculty in the Divinity School. Dr. Smith is an historian of religion whose research has focused on such wide-ranging subjects as ritual theory, Hellenistic religions, nineteenth-century Maori cults, and the notorious events of Jonestown, Guyana. He is known for his strong commitment to undergraduate teaching and the place of the liberal arts curriculum in the modern university. Raised in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Smith earned his B.A. from Haverford College in Pennsylvania, and went on to earn his Ph.D. from what was then Yale's newly established Department of Religion. Known as primarily concerned with methodology and the development of comparative studies, Smith has fascinated scholars with his ability to reach new understandings by drawing information from seemingly unrelated sources. He is especially known for his two books: Imagining Religion: From Babylon to Jonestown (1988), and Relating Religion: Essays in the Study of Religion (2004).

About the Interviewer:

Dr. Alfred Benney is a professor of Religious Studies at Fairfield University. He has a Ph.D in Theology from the Hartford Seminary Foundation and teaches courses in Non-Traditional American Religions and Christian Religious Thought. His research interests include "how people learn"; "the appropriate use of technology in teaching/learning" and "myth as explanatory narrative". He has published work on teaching with technology.

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0
Citation Information
Jonathan Z Smith and Alfred Benney. "Dr. Jonathan Z. Smith Engages with the Question: Is it Possible To Prove The Existence of God?" (1999)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/alfred_benney/160/