Obituary: Hadas, professor of English, Religious Studies; 73

David Hadas, Ph.D., died Wednesday, March 3, 2004, at 73 after a long battle with colon cancer. He had been a professor of English and of Religious Studies, both in Arts & Sciences, for nearly 40 years.

His class “Bible as Literature” was popular with students for many years.

David Hadas
David Hadas

“What’s clear about David Hadas is that he was loved,” said David A. Lawton, Ph.D., professor and chair of English and professor of Religious Studies. “He was loved for who he was — a complex and brilliant man who will be remembered for as long as anyone survives who spoke with him. He will be missed for his teaching, because it made a community out of issues we had thought to be too personal for the intellect to shine.

“He was never afraid to challenge and correct, and showed his care by doing so. Many of those lucky enough to take his courses have told me, simply, that he changed their lives. He showed them that it was important to think, and therefore to read. It’s what the best educators want to do.

“David succeeded, absolutely. The Bible will never be the same again.”

Hadas was born and raised in New York City. He studied for two years at Yeshiva University and then at Columbia University, where he earned a doctorate in 1963. He was the son of Moses Hadas, a well-known professor.

Survivors include his wife, Pamela Hadas, from whom he had long been separated; longtime companion Susan Griffith; half-sisters Elizabeth Hadas and Rachel Hadas; daughter, Deborah Hadas Hanson; son, Edward Hadas; sister, Jane Streusand; and five grandchildren.

Details of a memorial service have not yet been finalized.

Contributions in his memory can be made to the David Hadas Teaching Award, which will be given in his memory to senior faculty members who teach first-year undergraduates.

Individuals wishing to contribute can send checks made payable to “Washington University” to Robert Gibson, senior director of development for Arts & Sciences, at Campus Box 1210, Washington University, St. Louis MO 63130. Include a notation on the check that the contribution is for the David Hadas Teaching Award.