Announcing Westar Conference 2024

Confronting Christian Nationalism
May 23-25 in Salt lake City
See more details and registration here

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Upcoming Events, Seminars & Courses

Speaking up and speaking out in religious scholarship today.

Get ready to watch the May 23-25 conference on Christian Nationalism with our exclusive All Access Online Pass. Individual tickets also available!

The Christ Seminar is honored to convene this colloquium on Joerg Rieger's "Jesus vs Caesar: For People Tired of Serving the Wrong God"

How Jesus Became Plato

Course Begins
April 1, 2024

Can we find a way to honor Jesus and Plato by holding and heeding them separately?

About Westar

Scholarship in Public, for the Public

Westar is a member-supported nonprofit organization. We conduct public, collaborative research seminars with academic scholars in the field of religion. Westar investigates issues in the history of Christianity and beyond to inform public discourse on culture, society, and civic life.

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Sharing Our Research

As a public-facing organization, we are committed to sharing the results of scholarly research in accessible language through publications, events, and other resources. Westar works in dialogue with the public to foster critical thinking about religion.


See our research seminars on questions about religion that matter.

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Join Westar scholars in live conversations hosted via Zoom.

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About Westar

Our Story

Westar began in 1985 when Robert W. Funk invited 30 New Testament scholars to join him in the Jesus Seminar, a collaborative inquiry about the historical Jesus. Since its founding, Westar has held a series of innovative seminars on the origins of Christianity. But Funk’s founding vision was larger than scholarship for its own sake. His aim was to make religious literacy as ubiquitous as reading, writing, and arithmetic.

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The Importance of Westar

Why Our Work Matters

What does the Bible say about same-sex relationships? Did women have authority in the early Jesus movements? How were gender, sexuality, and morality understood in early Jesus movements? These are critical questions precisely because misrepresentations of Christian texts have shaped and continue to intersect with cultural, social, and political life in the US and throughout the world. Westar exists to pursue an honest and rigorous inquiry into the origins of the Christian tradition.

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What Our Members Say

Because of my heavy teaching load, I was drawn to the collaborative nature of Westar. As a participant in the Jesus Seminar and the Acts Seminar, I have been able to contribute to projects that I could not have hoped to complete on my own. To work with so many fellow scholars has been very rewarding, and the Associates have helped me see that work such as ours matters.

Perry Kea
Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, Chair, Philosophy and Religion Department, University of Indianapolis, Indiana

One of the most supportive institutions in my life and ministry was the [Westar Institute’s] Jesus Seminar. It forced contemporary biblical scholarship into the public awareness and enabled me to become an effective teacher to those I served.

John Shelby Spong
Episcopal Bishop Emeritus, Newark, New Jersey

Many of us see the value of Westar scholarship, with its collaborative culture, as an on-going post-doctoral seminar. The opportunity to participate in significant research projects in this collegial way has been a very rewarding part of our professional experience.

Roy W. Hoover
Weyerhaeuser Professor of Biblical Literature and Professor of Religion Emeritus, Whitman College, Washington
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