Iowa State University


Hector Avalos, Religious Studies, (515) 294-0051
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- Hector Avalos, Iowa State University assistant professor of religious studies, has been appointed executive director of the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion (CSER).

CSER was formed in 1988 and is affiliated with the Council for Secular Humanism at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, N.Y. The organization was created to examine traditional world religions and new religious groups from a scientific perspective, and provide naturalistic explanations for religious phenomena. The organization's membership includes specialists in Biblical scholarship, archaeology, linguistics, anthropology, the social and natural sciences, and philosophy.

Avalos was a child preacher and faith healer while growing up in Northern Mexico. A Biblical scholar, he earned his master's degree from the Harvard Divinity School and doctoral degree from Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Avalos does research on religion in Latino communities, as well as illness and health care in ancient Israel. He is the author of "Illness and Health Care in the Ancient Near East." He also has contributed articles on animals, Goliath, medicine, Esau and Satan to "The Oxford Companion to the Bible."

Avalos is chairperson of ISU's Latino Studies Program.


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