Become a Westar Scholar

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

Membership as a Westar Scholar 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).

Since 1985, more than 250 scholars have participated in the Jesus Seminar and other Westar projects. At various stages of the projects, different scholars have been involved in the research and deliberations.

Westar Scholars are critical scholars. Critical scholars make empirical evidence—evidence open to confirmation by independent, neutral observers—the controlling factor in historical and theological judgements, rather than putting dogmatic considerations first and insisting that the evidence confirm theological premises.

Westar Scholars who exemplify the ideals of a critical scholar may be inducted into the Order of David Friedrich Strauss or the Order of Baruch Spinoza. Strauss and Spinoza are regarded as two key pioneers in development of historical critical research in the study of religion.

Benefits for Westar Scholars

Being a Westar Scholar means belonging to an academic culture of collaboration, collegiality, and public outreach. Westar values collaborative work where scholars are not competitor set one against the other but hold a common mission. Collegiality is part of the Westar ethos where scholars assist and inspire each other in both common and individual projects. Communicating with the public is essential to all of Westar’s work that aims to promote religious literacy. The Westar experience is distinct from regular academic societies due to these features: collaboration, collegiality, and public accountability.


Opportunity to collaborate with a community of scholars on large-scale projects addressing specific questions and sharing the resulting scholarship with the general public.


Opportunity for public outreach:

  • Interact and engage with Associate and Praxis members on Zoom or at in-person meetings.
  • Share scholarship with non-specialists through social media outlets, the Westar blog, and The Fourth R
  • Present scholarship to the general public at regional Jesus Seminars on the Road programs or in online formats.
  • Publish peer-reviewed academic articles in Forum.


  • The Fourth R: Westar’s popular bimonthly magazine for members
  • Forum: Westar’s academic journal featuring peer-reviewed articles and listed in digital libraries.
  • Seminar papers: Prepared by scholars and distributed before each national meeting, they form the basis for deliberations at Westar Seminars


  • Exclusive publishing relationship with Wipf and Stock Publishers, Cascade imprint, through Westar Series.
  • 20% discount on Polebridge Press books and other Westar media
  • Discounts on registration for seminar meetings.

The distinctive culture of Westar seminars depends upon scholars taking active part in the conversation. Westar Scholars are expected to attend Westar meetings, participate in the discussion, and present contributions, as appropriate, to Westar’s scholarly projects.

Application to Become a Westar Scholar

To become a Westar Scholar, please submit the application below. Be sure to include a copy your CV and write a brief statement about your interest in becoming a Westar Scholar. Submissions will be reviewed. Upon approval, you will be invited to make your membership payment to join as a Westar Scholar.

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