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Upcoming Events

Jesus Seminar on the Road
October 27-28, 2017
SUPER Jesus Seminar on the Road
November 2-4, 2017
Jesus Seminar on the Road
November 3-4, 2017
Jesus Seminar on the Road
November 10-11, 2017
National Meeting
November 17-21, 2017

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.

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.



We're watching the fire in Wine Country closely, knowing that many people in that area have been affected. Westar's offices are no longer in Santa Rosa, nor are any of its employees. But we know of friends and fellows who have been affected, along with the residents of the towns through which the fire is [...]

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 [...]

The popular assumption is that the faith and teaching of the church are rooted in the faith and teaching of Jesus. This idea, however, proves completely unfounded when one checks the data. The truth is that there is a dichotomy between Jesus and the church. While the church may name Jesus as its founder, what it preaches and what Jesus had to say are very different. According to Günther Bornkamm, a student of Rudolf Bultmann, an ugly gap exists between Jesus of Nazareth and the church [...]