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Jesus in the First and Twenty-First Centuries

November 15, 2013 - November 16, 2013

Friday Lecture

The Challenge of the Historical Jesus

Before the creation of the first narrative gospel (Mark), fragments of what Jesus said were handed on and around orally.  Over time these fragments were embedded in stories told about him by his followers.  The Jesus Seminar has demonstrated that the radical visionary of the parables and aphorisms was replaced by various portraits of the risen Christ during the second generation when the gospels were written.  What can we say about the historical figure of Jesus? (McGaughy)

After the Christian movement became predominantly gentile, the first theological act was to change Jesus from the Jewish Messiah into the Greek Son of God. The eventual consequence was the Nicene Creed, in which the Jesus of history matters little. In the 19th century, however, the Jesus of history made a comeback. Can there be a “Christianity” with the historical Jesus? (Galston)


Friday, 7:30–9 pm

Saturday Workshops

Finding the Voiceprint of Jesus

The historical Jesus spoke in parables and aphorisms, not in lectures or sermons.  What are parables and aphorisms, and how did Jesus construct them?  Jesus’ poetics will be illustrated with selected parables and aphorisms including the Mustard seed, the Samaritan, and the Sower.  A brief survey of parable interpretation will also be presented. (McGaughy)
Saturday, 9:30–10:30

The Lifestyle of Wisdom

The Greek word for ‘poetry’ (poiesis) means ‘work’ (similar to the French word, faire – to do, to make, to create). In antiquity, learning about philosophy was not strictly an intellectual exercise. Rather, it was about working the philosophy, the poetic, into one’s life. Jesus can be seen in this light, for his art of teaching implies a voiceprint (a poetry), which is a way of seeing and being in the world. (Galston)
Saturday, 11:00–Noon

Modern Images of Jesus

The historical Jesus bears little resemblance to modern American images of Jesus.  Why was Jesus reinvented as a heroic warrior in the American monomyth?  And what does the rediscovery of the historical Jesus mean for 21st-century heirs of the Christian tradition and for modern culture in general? (McGaughy)
Saturday, 1:30–2:30

The Historical Jesus and the Church

Many people interested in modern Biblical Criticism ask how the results of such studies can be translated into the practices of a Church community. Since Christianity seems like the contradiction of the historical Jesus, is it even possible to take Jesus to Church? Can there be a future Christianity standing solidly on the wisdom of the historical Jesus? If so, what might that community look like? (Galston)
Saturday, 3:00–4:00 pm

Local Contact and Information

Plymouth Church United Church of Christ, Seattle, WA

Limited free parking is available in the Plymouth Garage; overflow parking is available in the IBM Garage (Map and directions at

Saturday lunch will be available for $10



David Galston is a University Chaplain, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, and Academic Adviser to the SnowStar Institute in Canada. He is the author of Embracing the Human Jesus: A Wisdom Path for Contemporary Christianity (2012).



Lane McGaughy

Lane C. McGaughy is the Geo. H. Atkinson Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies emeritus at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. The Director of Westar Institute, he is the co-author of The Authentic Letters of Paul, two books on New Testament Greek, and of numerous scholarly articles.



All Sessions

  • Individual Rate $75
  • Pre-registration Rate (by Nov 4) $60
  • Additional Family Members $50

Single Sessions

  • Friday Evening Lecture $20
  • Saturday Morning Workshop $30
  • Saturday Afternoon Workshop $30

Refunds are available until two weeks before the event if requested in writing, minus a $10 administrative fee. No refunds will be given after that date.

Learn more about the Jesus Seminar on the Road (JSOR) program.


November 15, 2013
November 16, 2013
Event Category:


Plymouth Church United Church of Christ
1217 Sixth Avenue Seattle, WA 98101 United States


Westar Institute
(503) 375-5323