The Jesus Seminar on Christian Origins examined the emergence of the Jesus traditions through the first two centuries of the Common Era [C.E.]. This project was designed to develop a new history of early Christianities and Christian writings, using the methods and techniques pioneered by the original Jesus Seminar on the sayings and deeds of Jesus.
The goal of the Jesus Seminar on Christian origins was to set the emergence of the Jesus traditions within the context of:
- The larger Greco-Roman culture of which it is a part
- Second temple Judaism and emerging Rabbinic Judaism
- The diversity among various followers of Jesus and their developing traditions
The Fellows examined Galilee, several cities in Syria (Caesarea Philippi, Antioch), and Corinth. Fellows conducted their research place by place, using a variety of tools—archaeology, epigraphy, ancient history, cultural anthropology—to create a thick description of each place, inventory the texts and traditions that would likely have been heard there, plot them over time (tradition history), and then describe the "Christianity" they saw developing there. The goal was to track networks and connections, explore the conflicts that shaped the early Christian world, and identify the fault lines.
The work of the Jesus Seminar on Christian Origins has been folded into the Christianity Seminar, launched in 2013.
The Jesus Seminar on Christian Origins met twice annually. Reports from the seminar appeared in Westar's magazine for members, The Fourth R.