April 13, 2023

In Memorium of Dr. Hector Avalos Written by Dr. Christopher Rollston

A Memorium of Dr. Hector Avalos was written by Dr. Christopher Rollston in the journal he edits, which included Hector Avalos's very last article.

Rollston starts with a personal comment on Facebook, saying,
Two years ago yesterday, Dr. Hector Avalos passed away. He was a distinguished scholar and a cherished friend, and he passed away much too early. In the current issue of MAARAV, I wrote an "in memoriam" regarding him. I have pasted it in below.

In addition, I should like to mention that in this issue of Maarav, one of Hector's final articles (perhaps his final article....I'm not entirely sure) is published, one entitled "By Him" or "Against Him/Them" in El Amarna 364:23?: Implications for the Destruction of Hazor. It's a very fine article and I sort of look at this as a core love of Hector's: history and philology. I'm so glad that this article appeared in Maarav. He had hoped to live to see it in print....this was not to be...but I'm so glad that it appeared within our pages. And again, the full "In Memoriam" is pasted in below.
In memoriam, Hector Avalos (1958-2021) by Chris Rollston.
Professor Hector Avalos was born in Mexico in 1958, earned a BA at the University of Arizona, then an MTS from Harvard Divinity School, and soon thereafter a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible and ancient Near Eastern Studies from Harvard University (1991). For many years, he was Professor of Religious Studies at Iowa State University.

Hector Avalos was a very active scholar and among his most important contributions to the field are his volumes entitled Illness and Health Care in the Ancient Near East: The Role of the Temple in Greece, Mesopotamia, and Israel (Harvard Semitic Monographs 54: Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1995), Health Care and the Rise of Christianity (Peabody: Mass: Hendrickson Press, 1999), and an edited volume (which he co-edited with Sarah Melcher and Jeremy Schipper) entitled This Abled Body: Rethinking Disabilities in Biblical Studies (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2007). These volumes reflect an important focus of Hector's scholarly work. An additional important focus of his work was religious violence. Among the volumes most notable in this connection are one entitled Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious Violence (Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2005), and another entitled The Reality of Religious Violence: From Biblical to Modern Times (Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2019). Yet another prominent focus of Hector Avalos was slavery in the ancient world. Arguably his most important contribution in this area was his volume entitled Slavery, Abolitionism, and the Ethics of Biblical Scholarship (Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2011). And yet the breadth of his scholarly contributions is still greater, as demonstrated by his books entitled Introduction to the U.S. Latina and Latino Religious Experience (Editor; Boston: Brill, 2004), and Strangers in Our Own Land: Religion in U.S. Latina/o Literature (Nashville: Abingdon, 2005). And these are just some of his many contributions.

I consider Hector a dear friend. I mourn his passing, not just because I wished for his contributions to the field to continue for many years, but also because of his gentle and kind ways and words to me, which I shall always remember so fondly. He very much wished to live to see this article of his appear in print in Maarav, but this was not to be, alas. But the depth and detail of this article of his is a fitting demonstration of his knowledge, erudition, and judiciousness with regard to the written record. May his memory be a blessing. --Published in Maarav 26 (2022): 5-6.
Here is what I wrote at the time Hector died. I still miss him. We first met in person when we were at an annual meeting of Society of Biblical Literature. We were both on a panel on Bill Maher's Movie Religulous.

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