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Upcoming Events

Jesus Seminar on the Road
Apr 27-28, 2018
Jesus Seminar on the Road
Sep 14-15, 2018
Jesus Seminar on the Road
Sep 28-29, 2018
Jesus Seminar on the Road
Oct 26-27, 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.


Read the Fall 2017 Report on Ritual Life in Early Christ Movements

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.


“Come Sunday” — produced by Ira Glass with This American Life and Netflix — is the true story of the successful preacher, evangelist, and revivalist Carlton Pearson. He led a mega-church in Oklahoma founded on fundamentalist, evangelical teachings, but came to the conclusion in the early 2000’s that Hell is not real and began preaching [...]

Preface: Musings on Christian Origins

/in Forum (Academic Journal) 

In the spring of 2016 the Christianity Seminar focused its efforts on a renewed discussion of “origins” within the early Christian movement. The roots of this enterprise have been extensively researched in recent decades, yet the light of such work has yielded promising suggestions about the early Jesus movement that demand further consideration and exploration. As such, it seemed appropriate here to solicit additional comments and research data on this important [...]

Family Empires, Roman and Christian

/Polebridge Press/in  /by 

Book cover for Family Empires by Elliott


Volume I of Roman Family Empires

Household, Empire, Resistance

In this first of two volumes of Roman Family Empires: Household, Empire, Resistance, Dr. Elliott examines the Roman household form as it was changing during the Augustan era.

Geering Interviews

/Polebridge Press/in  /by 

Book cover for Geering Interviews by Grimshaw


Lloyd Geering forces us to respond to, rethink, and reinterpret Christian origins, institutions, and beliefs. He demands that we begin from a position of informed knowledge that includes a central engagement with science, religion, and scholarship. Geering came to prominence in an age when religion seemed to be losing its relevance. How do we explain his move from accused heretic to New Zealand’s foremost public intellectual? Through interviews, expansive notes, and an excellent introduction, Michael Grimshaw guides us through the life and times of Lloyd Geering.

Putting Paul in his Place

/in The Fourth R (Magazine) /by 

Although Paul only knew a few details of Jesus’ life, he is in many ways the founder of institutional Christianity. This does not ignore the diversity of the earliest period of the Jesus movement, but to credit Paul for the conceptual foundation for the church that — for good or ill — has survived into the modern period. Some of his ideas sound strange to us today, but they serve as reminders that the Bible does not belong to our age.