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Upcoming Events

National Meeting
Mar 21-24, 2018
Jesus Seminar on the Road
Apr 13-14, 2018
Jesus Seminar on the Road
Apr 27-28, 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.



It’s time to wake up . . . We have to fight against propaganda and crackpot conspiracy theories. We have to fight isolationism, protectionism and nativism. We have to defeat those who would worsen our divisions. We have to remind our sons and daughters that we became the most powerful nation on earth by tearing [...]

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.

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.

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 [...]