The Westar Fellows are a community of academics committed to engaging in collaborative, cumulative scholarship on questions about religion that matter in society.

Membership as a Westar Fellow is open to:

  • Scholars with advanced academic degrees (Ph.D. or equivalent) in religious studies or related disciplines from accredited universities worldwide.
  • Published authors who are recognized authorities in the field of religion (by special invitation only).

More than 200 Fellows have participated in the Jesus Seminar and other Westar projects since 1985. At various stages of the projects, different Fellows have been involved in the research and deliberations.

Westar Fellows are critical scholars. Critical scholars make empirical, factual evidence—evidence open to confirmation by independent, neutral observers—the controlling factor in historical judgments, rather than putting dogmatic considerations first and insisting that the factual evidence confirm theological premises. Westar Fellows who exemplify the ideals of a critical scholar may be inducted into the Order of David Friedrich Strauss. Strauss was an early pioneer in historical Jesus research who lost his university position after publishing his Life of Jesus in 1835. He was only 27 years old.

Westar Fellows take an active part in the conversation by attending Westar meetings, participating in the discussion, and presenting contributions, as appropriate, to Westar’s scholarly projects.