Westar Institute

Institutional Affiliation
Charter Member

Susan M. (Elli) Elliott

Institutional Affiliation

Writer, Workshop Leader, and Environmental Activist

Red Lodge, Montana


Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago M.Div., Jesuit School of Theology B.A. equivalent, The Institute at Prescott College


Susan M. (Elli) Elliott was a writer, lecturer, workshop leader, and environmental activist based in Red Lodge, Montana. She began her doctoral work after years in urban ministry in Chicago where she served a local church, directed human rights organizations, worked in grassroots economic development, and organized direct actions on local and international justice issues. For several years, she managed construction companies and a mailing service as ventures to employ and train urban young people in Chicago. She also spent a year in a village in Mexico assisting with the economic development work of the Arizona Farmworkers Union.Elli Elliott’s scholarly work focuses on the pagan and Roman Imperial backgrounds of early Christianity, including Greco-Roman mystery cults—particularly the cult of Cybele—and central Anatolian popular religiosity. Her first book explores Paul’s letter to the Galatians and the relation of the circumcision controversy to the practice of ritual self-castration. Her current book project is based on a lecture series offered in local churches and uses George Lakoff’s work on the family metaphor in political discussion to understand early Christian family language in the context of the Roman Empire She is the author of scholarly articles and reviews that have appeared in the Journal of Biblical Literature, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Biblical Research, Semeia, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, and Listening, and a contributor to Eerdmans’ Dictionary of the Bible and The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible.

• Person of the Plains, Northern Plains Resource Council, Spring, 2010.• Arthur J. Schmitt Dissertation Fellowship, Loyola University Chicago, 1995–1996• Loyola University Teaching Fellowship, 1994–1995• Student Paper Competition Prize, Midwest Region of the Society of Biblical Literature, 1993• American Bible Society Scholarly Achievement Award for Excellence in Biblical Studies, Loyola University Chicago, 1993

Academic Appointments

• Adjunct Instructor, Humanities Department, Northwest College, Powell, Wyoming, August , 2010 to present• Faculty Member in New Testament, Lay Ministry Institute, Montana Association of Churches, August, 2008 to closure of institute• Faculty Member, Theological Education Institute of the Central Rocky Mountain Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Church of Christ, 1999–2003• Visiting Assistant Professor of Theology, Loyola University Chicago, 1997• Lecturer of Theology, Loyola University Chicago, 1993-1996

Professional Service

• Minister, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Fairmont, Minnesota, 2005–2007• Minister for Faith & Learning, Plymouth Congregational Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2003–2005• Pastor, Zion United Church of Christ, Sterling, Colorado, 1997–2003• Director, Justice and Peace Network of the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ, 1990–1992• Pastor and Community Program Director, Douglas Park Church of the Brethren, 1987–1990• Director, Interfaith Coalition for Justice to Immigrants, Chicago, 1981–1982• Coordinator, Alliance to End Represssion, Chicago, 1978–1980