Spring 2017 National Meeting

March 22-25, 2017
Santa Rosa, California

Program Overview

Public Lectures

The national meeting is open to anyone interested in scholarship about religion and religious literacy. Participants come from all walks of life, professions, and religious backgrounds. To support greater understanding of religion, Westar hosts public lectures conducted by Westar Fellows and other leading figures in the scholarship of religion.

Kirsi I. Stjerna

Luther for the Future

The Reformation Revisited

Why should Martin Luther be considered a freedom fighter? Is Reformation theology relevant today, and if so, how? On this 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Kirsi Stjerna will re-focus attention on the inequities in welfare and education that galvanized Martin Luther into action. At the epicenter of Luther’s theology, she says, was a deep concern for freedom that inspired reforms—sharing goods with those in need, advocating education for peasant children—reforms which, in turn, planted seeds of liberation. Although Luther’s vision had its flaws, it still has power 500 years later, says Stjerna. Its principles of inclusivity, equality, spirituality, and hospitality encourage us to address urgent, contemporary issues such as racism, sexism, violence and even human trafficking.

Kirsi Stjerna

Kirsi Stjerna (Ph.D., Boston University) is Synod Professor of Lutheran History and Theology at California Lutheran University. A native of Finland and ordained pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, she is a Core Doctoral Faculty Member at the Graduate Theological Union and Docent on the Theological Faculty at the University of Helsinki. Stjerna is the co-editor of Encounters with Luther (2016) and general editor of Word and Faith, volume 2 of The Annotated Luther (2015).

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
9–10, 10:30–11:30 am

Panel Discussion
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
1–2, 2:30–3:30 pm

Celene Lillie

The Rape of Eve

What was the relationship between gender and imperial power in the Roman world? Celene Lillie explores three Nag Hammadi texts—On the Origin of the World, The Reality of the Rulers, and the Secret Revelation of John—that tell the story of the rape of Eve in which she is portrayed as having been humiliated by the worldly rulers. Lillie argues that Eve is not shamed by the sexual violence perpetrated against her. These are not stories of temptation, disobedience, and the “fall” of humanity, but rather complex tales in which Eve, as a messenger of the divine realm, becomes the mother of those who will save humanity. Set in the broader context of Roman cosmogonic myths, these Nag Hammadi texts open a window onto Christian resistance to imperial ideology, the Roman Empire, and the culture of rape pervasive within it.

Celene Lillie

Celene Lillie (Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary) is the Director of the Tanho Center for a new New Testament and on the pastoral staff at Boulder First United Methodist Church in Colorado. The Director of Translations for A New New Testament (2013), her book The Rape of Eve: The Transformation of Roman Ideology in Three Early Christian Retellings of Genesis is forthcoming in Jauary 2017.

Thursday, March 23, 2017
1–2, 2:30–3:30 pm

Robert J. Miller

Helping Jesus Fulfill Prophecy

How did Jesus fulfill so many prophecies about the promised Messiah? The answer: he had help. Not only did gospel writers tailor their stories to fit pre-existing prophecies, they manipulated those prophecies to match what Jesus would do. In this program, based on his 2016 book, Robert Miller will investigate the ways in which Greek oracles, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and others explored techniques that paved the way for early Christian authors to manipulate prophecy. He will show how the argument that Jesus fulfilled prophecy was used to justify both the view that Christians had replaced Jews as God’s chosen people and the aggressive anti-Judaism that followed. It’s time, he suggests, for Christians to retire the argument from prophecy.

Robert J. Miller

Robert J. Miller (Ph.D., Claremont Graduate School) is Rosenberger Professor of Religious Studies and Christian Thought at Juniata College in Pennsylvania. He is the author of several books including Helping Jesus Fulfill Prophecy (2016) and Born Divine (2003), and editor of The Complete Gospel Parallels (with Arthur J. Dewey, 2012) and The Complete Gospels (4th ed., 2010).

Thursday, March 23, 2017
9–10, 10:30–11:30 am

An Interview with Roy Hoover

From the early days, Roy Hoover has been a significant presence in Westar. His name appears on The Five Gospels, the signature volume of the Jesus Seminar, and on The Authentic Letters of Paul. In 1995, together with Robert Funk, he inaugurated the Jesus Seminar on the Road program in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Roy served for many years as a member of the Board of Directors for Polebridge Press and Westar Institute. He is an impeccable scholar who believes that scholars have an ethical obligation to show how their knowledge contributes to the good life. His spirit of engagement and collaboration exemplifies the Westar model of scholarship. This interview presents a special occasion to explore the backstories of the Jesus Seminar, the Paul Seminar, and Westar with one of its seminal contributors.

Roy Hoover

Roy W. Hoover (Th.D. Harvard University) is Weyerhaeuser Professor of Biblical Literature and Professor of Religion Emeritus at Whitman College. He is co-author of The Authentic Letters of Paul (with Arthur Dewey, Lane McGaughy, and Daryl Schmidt, 2010) and The Five Gospels (with Robert W. Funk, 1993), and editor of Profiles of Jesus (2003). In 1992, he received the Whitman College Award for Faculty Achievement.

Friday, March 24, 2017
7:30–9 pm

Academic Seminars

Westar Institute conducts collaborative, cumulative research in the academic study of religion, addressing issues, questions, and controversies that are important both to the academic community and to the general public. Two seminars are currently in progress: the Christianity Seminar and the Seminar on God and the Human Future.

Christianity Seminar

The Christianity Seminar will take up the topics of (1) death and suffering in the Roman Empire and (2) apostleship and authority in the 2nd century. For the first, Richard Ascough and Judith Perkins will focus on the importance of death and suffering as a major influence on Christian self-understanding. Tony Burke will introduce the second topic, on apostleship and authority. He will be joined by Jason BeDuhn, who will explore the apostle Paul in the 2nd century, and by Carl y Daniel-Hughes and Maia Kotrosits on the story of Thecla from the Acts of Paul and Thecla.

Friday, March 24, 2017
2–3:30, 4–5 pm

Saturday, March 25, 2017
11–12:30, 2–3:30 pm

The Seminar on God and the Human Future

Process theology, which formed in the early 20th century, contemplates meaning and the cosmos. Hermeneutical theology, which arose in the 19th century, focuses on historical events and their contexts and so is suspicious of grand human projects like meaning and the cosmos. In conversation with Catherine Keller, author of The Cloud of the Impossible, the God Seminar will ask: Is a marriage between the two possible? It will also invite Brandon Scott to help it explore how Jesus might respond. Would he have considered a marriage between process and hermeneutical theology worthy of a parable?

Friday, March 24, 2017
9–10:30 am  Brandon Scott and Catherine Keller on Cloud of the Impossible

11–12:30 pm   Catherine Keller and Mary-Jane Rubenstein on “panentheism

Saturday, March 25, 2017
9–10:30 am   Mary-Jane Rubenstein on “pantheism”

Polebridge Authors & Books

New and recent Polebridge authors appear at these free afternoon book talks and include a book signing. This event will feature Nina Livesey on her new book Galatians and the Rhetoric of Crisis.

Nina Livesey

Nina E. Livesey (Ph.D., Southern Methodist University) is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies in the College of Liberal Studies at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. She is the author of Galatians and the Rhetoric of Crisis (2016) and Circumcision as a Malleable Symbol (2010).

Thursday, March 23, 2017
4–5 pm
Free event

Praxis Forum

The Praxis Forum is committed to bridging the gap between the academic study of religion and the on-the-ground experience of religion and spirituality in contemporary culture. We seek to support continued research and scholarship on the origins and impact of the Christian tradition, as well as fostering the faith and spiritual growth of religious communities.

Known previously as the Young Leaders in Religion Forum, this program is being spearheaded by mostly Gen-X and Millennial religious leaders with training in church, arts, chaplaincy, non-profit, social advocacy, new faith communities and social service work. Westar is actively seeking interested members. If you feel you or someone you know would be a good candidate for this program, please contact Executive Director David Galston for more information: dgalston@westarinstitute.org.

Praxis members should not use the regular registration form to sign up for the Spring 2017 forum. Registration instructions will be emailed to members.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
4–5 pm
Free event

Schedule

Wednesday, March 22
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Kirsi I. Stjerna

California Lutheran University
Luther for the Future
The Reformation Revisited
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Praxis Forum

Thursday, March 22
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Robert J. Miller

Juniata College
Helping Jesus Fulfill Prophecy
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Celene Lillie

Director of the Tanho Center
The Rape of Eve
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Authors & books

Nina E. Livesey
Galatians and the Rhetoric of Crisis
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Reception

Friday, March 24
9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

God Seminar

Brandon Scott and Catherine Keller
Cloud of the Impossible
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

God Seminar

Catherine Keller and Mary-Jane Rubenstein

“panentheism”

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Christianity Seminar

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Christianity Seminar

7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Roy Hoover Interview

Saturday, March 25
9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

God Seminar

Mary-Jane Rubenstein
“pantheism”
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Christianity Seminar

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Christianity Seminar

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Associate Forum

7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Banquet

Registration & Fees

Not a Westar member? You can add a Westar membership ($50) to your registration and register at the member price. Westar members receive a subscription to The Fourth R magazine (6 issues annually), discounts on national meeting registration, and 20% off Polebridge books & media. Learn more.

Option 1—Bundled Sessions
Includes reception, banquet & electronic seminar papers*

Wednesday – Saturday Registration OptionsMembersNon-members
Early Bird (by Jan 3, members save $95)$295$325
Pre-registration (by Feb 20, members save $70)$320$350
Registration (after Feb 20, members save $50)$340$370
THURSDAY EVENING – SATURDAY REGISTRATION OPTIONSMembersNon-members
Early Bird (by Jan 3, members save $65)$195$225
Pre-registration (by Feb 20, members save $45)$215$235
Registration (after Feb 20, members save $35)$225$245

Option 2—Single Sessions

MembersNon-members
Wednesday session with Kirsi I. Stjerna & Panel$65$70
Thursday sessions with Lillie and Miller$65$70
Thursday morning session with Miller only$35$40
Thursday afternoon session with Lillie only$35$40
Thursday reception ticket$40
Friday academic seminars$65$70
Friday evening interview with Roy Hoover$20$20
Saturday academic seminars$65$70
Saturday banquet ticket$55
Hardcopy of seminar papers $25
Electronic seminar papers (available free online)
$25

Refunds are available if requested in writing by March 2 minus a $40 administrative fee. No refunds will be given after that date.

Seminar Papers, which will become available in March, are the basis for the discussions in the Friday and Saturday sessions. They will not be presented orally at the event. Persons wishing to follow the discussions should read the papers in advance. Electronic copies of the Seminar Papers are included with registration. Hard copies of the papers will be available at a cost of $25 each.

Order hard copies of seminar papers

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available on request. Attendance at Westar events qualifies for CEUs for clergy and other educators. Full attendance at Westar’s national meetings earns 2 CEUs (.5 per day). Please notify us of your interest when you register, or fill out the CEU request form. During the event, applicants will be asked to check in with a Westar staff member each day on arrival and departure. A certificate will be sent immediately following the event. Please contact us with any questions.

Resources

Polebridge Press Bookstore
Polebridge Press, the publishing imprint of Westar Institute, publishes up-to-date reference works for biblical scholars, primarily in support of research on the origins of Christianity and the historical Jesus; scholarly books produced by Westar seminars, research projects, and by individual scholars; and books and periodicals that disseminate the results of critical scholarship on religion to the public. The national meeting bookstore offers Polebridge books and books by featured speakers at a 20% discount to attendees.

The bookstore is open every day of the conference before, during and following sessions.

Hospitality
Westar national meetings are more than the sessions themselves; Westar is a community of people who enjoy candid, intellectually honest conversations about religion in general and Christianity in particular. The Garden Room will be open in the evenings beginning Tuesday night (3/21) for attendees to gather over free snacks and drinks. Be sure to stop by on Tuesday night for a slice of welcome cake and to introduce yourself to other attendees!

Local Restaurants & Sightseeing
Santa Rosa is a blend of wine country, farms, redwood forests and ocean views. Local museums and features include the Charles Schulz MuseumSafari West wildlife park, and Pacific Coast Air Museum. The 800-acre Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve is located 45 minutes outside Santa Rosa. Visitors interested in ocean views, seafood, and coastal hikes can drive to Jenner or Bodega Bay in approximately 40–45 minutes.

No visit to Santa Rosa is complete without enjoying local award-winning wines. Visit the Santa Rosa Convention & Visitors Bureau restaurants page and Taste Santa Rosa for more information on local dining options.

Hotel & Travel Information

All events will take place at:

The Flamingo Resort Hotel
2777 Fourth Street
Santa Rosa, California 95405

The convention room rate at the Flamingo is $139 single or double occupancy, plus tax. For reservations, call 800-848-8300/707-545-8530 or visit the Flamingo website. A block of rooms will be held until February 20 at which time they will be released for sale to the general public. Book early to ensure a room. Reservations will be on a space available basis at the group rate. To reserve the Executive King or Suite rooms, or to reserve rooms at the convention room rate beyond the meeting dates (3/20/2017 to 3/27/2017), call the hotel directly and reference the group "Westar Institute" rather than using the online link.

By air

Alaska Airlines provides nonstop service to the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa (STS) from Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Santa Rosa is also served by San Francisco (SFO) and Oakland (OAK) airports.

The Airport Express provides service from SFO and OAK to Santa Rosa. Travel time is about two hours. The fare is currently $34 one-way with a $2 discount for seniors (62+), military, and students. The new Santa Rosa drop-off point is located 1.8 miles from the Flamingo at the Veterans Memorial building. From there you must get a cab.

Currently buses depart San Francisco airport every hour, on the half-hour, from 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Airport buses pick up on the Lower Level (outside Baggage Claim area) in the center island at the pillars marked “Airporters.”

Buses depart Oakland airport every two hours, on the half hour, from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Buses pick up outside the Baggage Claim area, at the Ground Transportation Center platform marked “4D Scheduled Buses.”

Airport bus schedules change frequently. To be sure of up-to-date schedules and fares, for maps, and to get online discounts, visit www.airportexpressinc.com or call toll free at 800-327-2024.

By car

The Flamingo Hotel is located at the corner of 4th Street and Farmers Lane in Santa Rosa, approximately 55 miles north of San Francisco.

  • Take Hwy 101 North to Santa Rosa
  • Exit Hwy 12 (East toward Sonoma)
  • Stay on Hwy 12 (which joins Farmers Lane) to 4th Street