Westar’s first project, the Jesus Seminar, began in 1985 with conventional academic protocols borrowed from professional societies. But soon, a new culture began to emerge. Rather than simply a debating society arguing about ideas, the Jesus Seminar became a community of critical collaboration, collegiality, and consensus. The bonds formed among Fellows constitute an essential ingredient in our work.

These characteristics set our work apart from other societies:

  • Religious literacy that matters
  • A common conversation
  • Honesty is foundational
  • Conversation is cumulative
  • Operate out of a consensus
  • Radically inclusive
  • Establish the facts
  • Public accountability

From Westar Institute Ethos & Protocols, prepared by Westar founder Robert W. Funk
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