Saint Martin's University

David Suter

David Suter

Title and discipline: professor, religious studies

Contact information
Office location: Old Main 366
Phone: 360-438-4360

Areas of specialization: My teaching interests include Biblical studies, the bible on peace and justice, comparative religion, the Dead Sea Scrolls, autobiography and spirituality, the problem of evil, and Jesus on film, which I have co-taught with David Hlavsa, the theatre professor.

I grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and attended Davidson College in North Carolina, where I graduated in 1964 with a B.A. in philosophy and a minor in English. From Davidson I went to the University of Chicago Divinity School, where I completed a B.D. (1967) and then a M.A. (1970) and Ph.D. (1977) in New Testament, working with Norman Perrin. My dissertation, entitled Tradition and Composition in the Parables of Enoch, was published in the Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Series. While in Chicago I was a member and then president of the Chicago Chapter of the American Recorder Society and played renaissance and baroque music with various ensembles. I worked as a caseworker for the Cook County Department of Public Aid and then as a social worker for the Johnson Rehabilitation Nursing Home on the west side of Chicago.

In 1974 I took a position as assistant professor of religion at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas, and in 1981 moved to Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, and then to Saint Martin's University in Lacey, Washington, where I have taught since 1983.

Select publications: My research and publication interests center around Judaism in the Greek and early Roman periods. My signature publication, "Fallen Angel, Fallen Priest: The Problem of Family Purity in 1 Enoch 6-16," argues that the stories of angel marriages with women in the Ethiopic Book of Enoch are intended as sectarian critiques of the purity of the marriages of the Jerusalemite priesthood, a theme that has become a common idea in scholarship on the period since its publication.

Accomplishments: At Saint Martin's, I have served as dean of humanities, director of the humanities major, and director of general education.

In 1996 I participated in a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for College Teachers at Hebrew University in Jerusalem on Christian and Jewish stories about Adam and Eve after the Bible, and returned to the Galilee the following year while on sabbatical to determine what the region must have been like in the third century B.C.E. Since 2001, I have been a member of the Enoch Seminar, a select group of scholars dealing with early Judaism who meet every other year in Italy.

Education: B.A., Davidson College; B.D., University of Chicago; M.A., ibid.; Ph.D.; ibid.