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Upcoming Events

Jesus Seminar on the Road
February 2-3, 2018
Jesus Seminar on the Road
February 9-10, 2018
National Meeting
March 21-24, 2018

Begun in 2013, the Christianity Seminar aims to rewrite the history of early Christianity. The scholars of the seminar have broken through to new understandings of many disparate movements in the first four centuries of the Common Era, and are working on their first major book.

The academic Seminar on God and the Human Future began its work in 2013. Inspired by the pioneering research and public notice of the Jesus Seminar, it has attracted over thirty participating Research Fellows who are exploring new ways for thinking about God in a post-theistic context.

Welcome to Westar Institute

Westar Institute is a non-profit, public-benefit research and educational organization that is dedicated to fostering and communicating the results of cutting-edge scholarship on the history and evolution of the Christian tradition, thereby raising the level of public discourse about questions that matter in society and culture.

Does the Kingdom of God Need God?

/in The Fourth R (Magazine) /by 

The kingdom of God is typically understood as God stepping in and taking over, scattering the world’s powers, turning the tables, and allowing all to see that it really is God who holds all the cards. But what if the kingdom is better understood as divine irony, a “holding sway” that does not hold with violence and power? If this is the case, then we are speaking of a kingdom without a king because, after all, the ikon of God in this story is an unjustly crucified man with no earthly power at all. Could it be then that the kingdom of God does not need God — at least as we traditionally conceive of God?

Inventing the Passion

/Polebridge Press/in  /by 

Book cover for Inventing the Passion by Dewey


How the Death of Jesus Was Remembered

This historical primer on the death of Jesus examines the evidence of Jesus’ crucifixion, explains how crucifixion worked in the Roman Empire, and explores how and why it was remembered by followers of Jesus.

God is Dead

/in Blog /by



The short, famous, phrase of Friedrich Nietzsche, "God is dead," is an aphorism and not a statement of belief. Nietzsche did not originate the phrase, but he used it most notably in a parable about a madman. Using the form of a parable uniquely sets the phrase in poignant and poetic expression. If Nietzsche was [...]

Preface: The Language of Apocalyptic

/in Forum (Academic Journal) /by 

Ancient apocalyptic, both in scrolls and imaginative strategy, emerges out of social upheaval. When pressed to explain social change, the ancient mind was often at a loss. Only a dramatic scenario could account for the loss of one’s social world or the advent of a new one. Apocalyptic writing was a creative response to being thrown into the vortex of life. In the four following articles the authors demonstrate how the ancients could accommodate and even participate in the changed conditions of living [...]