Magazine article The Humanist

Humanist Profile

Magazine article The Humanist

Humanist Profile

Article excerpt

GERALD ALEXANDER LARUE was born on June 20, 1916, in Alberta, Canada, one of five children born to Thomas and Christina Larue.

He received Bachelor of Art and Bachelor of Divinity degrees from the University of Edmonton in Canada and began his career as a minister, serving pastorates in Canada and the United States from 1945-1953. Larue then moved to California to pursue a Doctor of Theology degree at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. While in undergraduate and graduate school, professors cheerfully called him "Heretic Larue," which turned out to be a harbinger of things to come.

In 1958, Larue accepted a professorship at the University of Southern California in the School of Religion. He received a number of awards for his teaching and was popular with students. His textbook Old Testament Life and Literature was widely distributed and benefited from his numerous archaeological studies in Israel. His focus was differentiating folktales, myth, and legend from fact that could be substantiated, especially using archaeological studies. After retiring from the School of Religion, Larue then taught another twenty-five years at USC's School of Gerontology.

As part of the free thought movement, Larue published Sex in the Bible; The Supernatural, the Occult, and the Bible; and other scholarly studies in which stories and perceptions from the Bible were compared to known fact. Other books included The Way of Ethical Humanism, The Way of Positive Humanism, and Playing God: Fifty Religions' Views on Your Right to Die. He was the founding president of the Hemlock Society, cofounder of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Religion, a leader of the Los Angeles chapters of the American Humanist Association and the Ethical Culture Society, and in 1989 he received the AHA's Humanist of the Year award. …

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