Hector Avalos has died

A great loss…Hector Avalos was a professor of philosophy and religious studies at Iowa State University, but also he was a great humanist and all around nice guy. We met several times; he made many trips up the road to Minneapolis to speak at Minnesota Atheist meetings, and he was always a pleasure to listen to. Here’s one recording of one of his talks (I think I was at that one!)

If only atheism had paid more attention to the example set by Hector.


  1. robro says

    Thanks for posting his talk. I hadn’t heard of him, although much of what he discussed confirms what I read a few years ago about the biblical narratives, including Jesus.

  2. raven says

    I read two of his books and liked them.
    The End of Biblical Studies was good.

    Review from Amazon.com

    In this radical critique of his own academic specialty, biblical scholar Hector Avalos calls for an end to biblical studies. He outlines two main arguments for this surprising conclusion. First, academic biblical scholarship has clearly succeeded in showing that the ancient civilization that produced the Bible held beliefs about the origin, nature, and purpose of the world and humanity that are fundamentally opposed to the views of modern society. The Bible is thus largely irrelevant to the needs and concerns of contemporary human beings.

    Strangely enough, Hector Avalos himself was…a noted biblical scholar and a tenured Religion Studies professor.

    IIRC, he had some sort of autoimmune illness and has died young.
    He will be missed.

  3. birgerjohansson says

    Really nice people are a finite resource. A**holes seem to be as numerous as the sand grains on the beach.

  4. says

    I think I remember seeing him in documentaries when I was a budding young Atheist. He’d get sandwiched in between Dawkins and Hitchens to be the more careful calm and reasonable voice. RIP we need more like him.

  5. says

    Oh, no.

    I met him only once, when the Society for Biblical Literature meeting happened to be in Boston. We had an extraordinarily pleasant conversation over soup in a little restaurant in the Prudential mall, near the convention center.

    All my sympathies to his loved ones.

  6. Ichthyic says

    I constantly refer people to his talks on youtube about his work in biblical archeology… and how he literally found zero evidence in support of anything in the OT over a period of 30 years.